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Guilty of doping by nasal decongestant

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) recently announced on its website that Mitchell McKay, a Canadian softball athlete, received an 18-month sanction for an anti-doping rule violation.

McKay, a 23-year-old from Tavistock, Ontario

represented Canada at last year's Under-23 Softball World Cup in Argentina and was named to the tournament's All-World team at catcher.

CCES reports that McKay’s urine sample, collected in-competition on August 2, 2023, revealed the presence of pseudoephedrine, a prohibited specified stimulant.

However CCES did not indicate the dosage or concentration in his Urine. This should have been indicated, since doping effect, if any are just at certain concentration.

Why is it on anti-doping prohibited lists?

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal passages by reducing dilated blood vessels that may cause nasal congestion (stuffy nose).

Owing to its similar composition to ephedrine and other amphetamines, pseudoephedrine could mirrors some of its effects.

However, a research paper on the 'Effect of pseudoephedrine in sport: a systematic review' by eminent professors at McMaster University in Ontario, that investigated the possiblePseudoephedrine's ergogenic effect through a systematic review is quite cautious in its conclusions regarding the dosage fined.

Indeed, the study concluded the review showed that the ergogenic effect of pseudoephedrine is dose-dependent. None of the reviewed studies showed an ergogenic effect at the therapeutic dose of the drug (60–120 mg); however, supratherapeutic doses (≥180 mg) yielded clinically significant results.

The athlete however did not present his arguments and signed an Agreement on Consequences thereby waiving his rights to a hearing and accepting the proposed sanction and all other applicable consequences. Because the athlete accepted a voluntary provisional suspension on September 7, 2023, the sanction ends on March 6, 2025.

During the sanction period, the athlete is ineligible to participate in any capacity with any sport signatory to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP), including training with teammates.

In compliance with rule 8.4 of the CADP, the CCES’s file outcome summary can be found in the Canadian Sport Sanction Registry.

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