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Practice Area Feature: Drug Testing and Doping Disputes

I have seen drug testing and doping disputes from several different angles. I have drafted drug testing policies, overseen institutional drug testing and compliance, provided drug testing education, litigated terminations resulting from positive drug tests, negotiated drug testing policies in collective bargaining agreements, and represented athletes facing suspensions related to adverse findings. In each circumstance and matter, it requires detailed knowledge of the substances at issue, the terms of any policy governing drug testing, the policies to challenge a positive drug test, and the possible penalties.

Although there are athletes who purposefully ingest banned substances for athletic gain, often times, drug testing and doping disputes involve tainted supplements. I have seen common supplements, such as protein powder and collagen, test to show contamination with ingredients not listed on the nutritional facts. As a result, it is important to have supplements reviewed by knowledgeable individuals to determine whether the supplement contains banned substances with the understanding that some supplements may not list all of the ingredients. USADA offers a database that can be searched to determine whether certain substances have previously shown to result in adverse findings.

In cases where an athlete has unknowingly ingested a banned substance, athletes often set forth a "knowledge challenge" in which athletes argue that they could not have reasonably known that they ingested a banned substance. There are very interesting cases addressing this issue. One of which, I often use in my sports law class as a performance problem -- the passionate kissing defense resulting from an athlete's girlfriend taking a banned substance and passing the substance to the athlete through kissing. These dispute are highly technical cases that require counsel who can navigate the administrative appeal/arbitration and work closely with experts to present a successful case. We are happy to help.

Please check out our Drug Testing and Doping Disputes practice area.

For any questions, contact Christian Dennie at


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