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U.S. Track & Field Athlete, Harper-Nelson, Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

USADA announced today that Dawn Harper-Nelson, of Los Angeles, Calif., an international level athlete in the sport of track and field, has tested positive for a prohibited substance and accepted a three-month sanction for her violation.

Harper-Nelson, 32, tested positive for the prohibited substance hydrochlorothiazide and related metabolites as a result of an out-of-competition urine sample she provided on December 1, 2016. Hydrochlorothiazide is in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents and prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Anti-Doping Policy, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Harper-Nelson’s sample was collected by the IAAF, and referred to USADA for results management after Harper-Nelson had been notified of her test results. Following an investigation into the circumstances of her case, including Harper-Nelson’s medical records, USADA has accepted Harper-Nelson’s explanation that her positive test was caused by a blood pressure medication she was prescribed by a physician to treat hypertension. Harper-Nelson further explained that she made efforts to determine if the medication contained prohibited substances; however, due to using partial search terms, those efforts were unsuccessful.

Harper-Nelson’s period of ineligibility began on December 1, 2016, the date her positive sample was collected. In addition, Harper-Nelson has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to December 1, 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, 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.

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