Cougars and Rams Athletics to provide more drugs training

Performance enhancing drugs have become a topic of discussion for Cougar Athletics/Pixabay

Renewed focus following Borsa’s positive drug test

The past year has seen a number of issues within the Rams football team including two suspensions, Takudzwa Timothy Brandon Gandire (for an assault charge that has since been dropped related to a fight outside of the Owl, as reported by CBC) and Kyle Borsa’s drug suspension for the prohibited substance higenamine. This follows former Rams linebacker Michael Stefanovich’s 2017 suspension for drostanolone.

In response, the Rams reaffirmed via email their commitment to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport in a statement related to the issue.

“As a U SPORTS member school, the University of Regina will continue to have its student-athletes complete mandatory annual education provided through the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. We also periodically provide additional learning opportunities beyond the scope of the CCES programs, and this year Dr. Darren Candow – associate dean of our faculty of kinesiology & health studies – will be speaking to our student-athletes about supplements.

“At the moment, we have no plans for additional education beyond the mandatory CCES program and Dr. Candow’s presentation to our student-athletes.”

When reached for comment Dr. Candow said that the presentation was being planned, for fall athlete orientation, but that he “didn’t have all of the information.”

In the report detailing Borsa’s suspension, the athlete’s argument noted that “The anti-doping education received by the Athlete was the most basic and minimum. He was told to complete it so he could play, and he did. There was no follow up, no questions, no assessment as to what he learned or anything of that nature.”

In response, in the 27-page decision, the governing body found Borsa to have not done his research.

“Here, the Athlete had not read the label or otherwise taken any steps to ascertain the ingredients with the supplement. He had not cross-checked what was on the list with the Prohibited List. He had not done any internet search of the product. He had taken no steps to ensure the product was reliably sourced beyond buying it at a retail store instead of online. There, he relied upon the advice of the clerk the Athlete believed had a kinesiology degree, ‘whatever good that was’, who suggested the store did not sell anything that was banned.”

The report also pointed to Borsa’s negligence in relation to the rules put forward by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.

“As to the degree of risk, athletes are expressly warned regarding the risks of supplements and so know (or ought to know) that they take a risk from an antidoping perspective when using supplements. Athletes are also informed how to mitigate these risks by using products that have an NSF label or NSF certification. The Allmax Impact Igniter that the Athlete purchased and used did not include such a label and was not NSF certified. As such, not only should the Athlete have been aware of the risks associated with supplement use, but he should have also been aware that there was a heightened risk when using Allmax Impact Igniter because it did not contain an NSF label or indication that it was NSF certified.”

Lisa Robertson, the University of Regina’s director of sport, community engagement and athlete development, noted that the program does focus on new themes every year at athlete orientation and that this year would have a focus on supplements.

“Going into last season with the legalization of marijuana at our orientation we did some education around cannabis and cannabis in sport. So, each year we pick a subject to address with the student athletes but they do the full education every year through CCES.”

Robertson did confirm, having been read parts of Borsa’s report, that the University of Regina does not follow up on the mandatory CCES training required of U Sports athletes.

“We don’t do any follow up. I guess if there’s questions around the CCES education that’s a question for CCES not necessarily for me to speak to.”

“When we are notified I get in touch with the coach and then we get in touch with the athlete to tell them in person. What I normally do is encourage them to follow up with the CCES because they are very, very good at walking the athlete through [them] having a better understanding of the steps that they have to them.”

Scott Julé, manager of sport sciences services at the Sport Medicine and Science Council of Saskatchewan, which works closely with Sask. Sport, thinks that there are a number of issues related to CCES and doping violations that university athletes need to be aware of.

Julé said that the council would be providing training to the Rams in August related to training already provided by CCES and noted that the Rams had previously accessed their services a number of years earlier.

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