September 19, 2014
USADA announced today that Wallace Spearmon, Jr., of Fayetteville, Ark., an athlete in the sport of track & field, has tested positive for a prohibited substance and accepted a three-month sanction for his rule violation.
Spearmon, 29, tested positive for Methylprednisolone as the result of an in-competition urine sample collected at the Edmonton International Track Classic on July 6, 2014. Methylprednisolone is a glucocorticosteroid prohibited in-competition under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing (the “Protocol”) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (“IAAF”) Anti-Doping Rules, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) Prohibited List. Glucocorticosteroids are classified as a Specified Substance, and therefore the presence of Methylprednisolone in an athlete’s sample can result in a reduced sanction.
After a thorough review of the case, including Spearmon’s medical records, USADA has accepted Spearmon’s explanation that the Methylprednisolone was not being used in an effort to enhance his performance and that he was taking the prescribed medication in a therapeutic dose under the care of a physician. USADA can grant a Therapeutic Use Exemption (“TUE”) in situations where an athlete has a legitimate medical need to use a substance or method listed on the WADA Prohibited List; however, Spearmon failed to apply for a TUE prior to using the medication.
Spearmon’s three-month period of ineligibility began on August 27, 2014, the date he accepted a provisional suspension. In addition, Spearmon has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to July 6, 2014, 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, the agency 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.