The Gees defensive back received the suspension after borrowing a teammate’s inhaler. Photo: Parker Townes.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Gees defensive back receives four-month suspension following positive drug test

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) announced on Feb. 7 that the U of O’s Jamie Harry was suspended for an anti-doping violation.

According to the media release, Harry, star defensive back with the Gee-Gees, tested positive for terbutaline in a urine sample collected in September 2018.

Normally this would result in a two-year suspension for any athlete, but the CCES said this was reduced to four months due to a low degree of fault on Harry’s part.

Terbutaline falls under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s “Beta-2 antagonists” category, which lists drugs that stimulate the lungs, allowing more air to pass through.

Harry’s CCES case file indicates he was prescribed Salbutamol, a drug not listed as a Beta-2 antagonist, for a medical condition. The file said the CCES received evidence that Harry had forgotten his inhaler on the day of the drug sample collection, and had mistakenly used a teammate’s. This granted him a reduced suspension that will conclude in March.

“It was a totally unintentional positive test unfortunately, and Jamie happened to be chosen that day of course, when he left his puffer at home,” U of O Sports Services director Sue Hylland said. “You know we certainly have supported him since the beginning, and we stand behind him obviously as he accepts the ramifications of the actions that were taken.”

Harry, who won’t be returning to play ball for the Gees next year, waived his right to a hearing and accepted the suspension.

Hylland said while the U of O is regularly informed about drug tests, including with CCES presentations during athlete orientation day, they will need some more reminders in light of this.

“I think we’ve got to have a bit of a refresher every few months to say: ‘Hey, if anybody’s taking any medications, you better let us know.’ So we’re going to have to have a system to check in,” Hylland said. “You know, you shouldn’t be borrowing somebody’s inhaler because you think it’s the same thing. You’ve got to be careful with that, and Jamie certainly realizes that now.”

The fourth-year defensive back for the Gee-Gees had a stunning 2018 season with six interceptions and 26 tackles through eight games.

He was part of a defensive core that led the Ontario University Athletics conference in team interceptions this season. A strong defence helped lead the team to a first-round bye, coming up short against the Guelph Gryphons in the semifinals.