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Asthma medication overuse lead to bans

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/07/2016

Black Sox softballer Craig Wallace and All Whites soccer player Clayton Lewis have both been banned for a month for overusing asthma medication.

Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) says their cases highlight the need for all athletes to make sure they exercise caution when taking medications.

The bans were handed down on Thursday by the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand for rule violations caused by the overuse of salbutamol, which is contained in the product Ventolin.

Salbutamol is a commonly prescribed asthma medication and is permitted in sport up to a maximum threshold.

Both Wallace and Lewis were found to have an elevated reading of the ingredient after in-competition testing in February, having not controlled their asthma adequately.

The tribunal found no significant fault or negligence on the part of either player and noted that neither was a drug cheat.

DFSNZ agreed that, in both cases, there was no significant fault and supported the imposition of low-level penalties.

Chief executive Graeme Steel said the situation had had an impact on both men and Lewis had missed opportunities to compete for New Zealand.

"It is hoped the one good outcome will be that other athletes will be more alert to this issue and take great care," he said.

Steel said the instances were the first that his organisation had encountered in which overuse of Ventolin had led to positive tests.

As both players were suspended while the matter was heard, Wallace will be free to return to sport on Friday and Lewis on August 8.

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