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SBD/30/Leagues Governing Bodies
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED EXAMINES USE OF SUDAFED AMONG NHL PLAYERS
Published January 30, 1998
The use of Sudafed by NHL players is examined by Michael Farber of SI under the header "Hockey's Little Helpers." Farber: "It's the NHL's dirty little secret, and with the Olympics imminent, it is of great concern to the league because although Sudafed is legal, it is on the Olympic list of banned substances." Farber writes that the "exact number of players who use Sudafed, a nonprescription drug that contains the stimulant pseudoephedrine, in an effort to boost their performance on the ice, is unclear." Two NHL trainers "estimate that before a game 20% of the league's players routinely take" such over-the-counter medications "to feel a little buzz." The NHL, however, "disputes that figure, saying the percentage of players using drugs such as Sudafed is much lower and that they use them for medicinal purposes only" (SI, 2/2 issue). REBUTTAL: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, on SI's article: "The evidence that we have indicates that [SI's] anecdotes aren't born out by the facts, and that if there was a problem -- and we're not so sure that there ever was - - that it was a while ago." More Bettman: "[I]f we thought we had a problem, our substance abuse program would be directed at it, even though we're talking about a perfectly legal substance" ("CNN/SI," 1/29). NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow declined to discuss specific results of pre-Olympic drug tests but said those results contained "no shocking revelations of drug abuse, nor any indication the use of Sudafed was as high" as depicted in SI (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/29).