March 6, 2017
USADA announced today that Jessica Cosby-Toruga, of Euless, Texas, an athlete in the sport of track & field, has tested positive for a prohibited substance and accepted a six-year suspension for her second anti-doping rule violation.
Cosby-Toruga, 34, tested positive for the presence of an exogenous androgenic anabolic steroid (AAS) and/or its metabolites, which was confirmed by carbon isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) analysis, as a result of an out-of-competition urine sample she provided on September 12, 2016. Every urine sample that USADA collects is scrutinized under an Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program that examines levels of multiple steroid biomarkers of doping. Specific samples that exhibit atypical qualities are then targeted for more sophisticated IRMS analyses, which can reveal the presence of synthetic AAS use.
Following notification of her positive test, Cosby-Toruga informed USADA that she was using Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a prohibited anabolic agent, at the direction of her physician after giving birth. Although the DHEA was taken at the direction of a physician, the World Anti-Doping Code requires athletes to obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) before using a prohibited substance. Cosby-Toruga applied for a TUE after her positive test; however, her application was denied primarily because the independent TUE Committee concluded that no clear diagnosis was established and that non-prohibited alternatives were available to treat her symptoms. This case illustrates the critical need for athletes to check all prescription and non-prescription medications and dietary supplement ingredients on Global Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com) or contact USADA before using them to determine their prohibited status and confirm if a TUE is needed in advance.
The use of any exogenous anabolic agent, including DHEA, is prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the International Association of Athletics Federations Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Cosby-Toruga’s six-year period of ineligibility began on September 12, 2016, the date her positive sample was collected. In addition, Cosby-Toruga has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to September 12, 2016, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.
In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, USADA manages a drug reference hotline, Global Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.
USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.