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Drug test rocks Mustangs
Player suspended for use of banned substance
By Chris Lackner
A drug suspension announced Wednesday gave the 16-0 Western men's hockey team its first major set-back of the season.
A sample taken randomly from Western defenceman Kelly Paddon on Nov. 17 has tested positive for the banned substance ephedrine, resulting in the second-year player being forced out of action for at least one month.
"He was sick and took the wrong kind of decongestant," said team captain Ryan McKie, speaking on behalf of Paddon who was unavailable for comment.
McKie said a seminar to inform players of drug-use guidelines that occurred before the season did little to create a clear understanding of what cannot be used.
"It's almost an encyclopedia of what you can't take," he said. "You have to make three of four phone calls just to out find out what's in a drug when you just want to feel better."
Marg McGregor, chief executive officer for Canadian Interuniversity Sport, said less than one per cent of students who are randomly tested for illegal substances have tested positive since 1990. There have been 27 infractions in approximately 3,639 test cases, she added.
Paul Melia, chief operating officer for the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, said ephedrine is found in many natural supplement products and protein packs.
He said Paddon's positive test comes from a random doping control session conducted at a CIS competition.
"After a positive test, the athlete is given the chance to defend their case, possibly through producing medically approved explanations [for the substance in question]," he said.
Paddon will be eligible to apply for reinstatement on Feb. 17.
The penalty is considered in effect from the day the testing occurs, but is not enforced until all appealing circumstances are dealt with and the actual suspension is incurred, Melia said.
The stimulant is considered a minor doping infraction more serious steroid-use predicates a four-year ban from varsity athletics, McGregor said.
An appeal process is available for athletes, but ignorance or misunderstanding are not viable excuses, she said.
"It's not the intent measured," she said. "It's the [performance-enhancing] impact."
Western head coach Clarke Singer said the team will not let the current situation distract them from their goal of an Ontario University Athletic championship.
"It's a tough situation," he said of losing Paddon. "We're going to do the best we can. Our guys have a lot of experience dealing with things."
Dan Smith, the director of athletics and recreation at Western, said Paddon has been a valuable member of the hockey team.