Mar 15, 2021
With this episode, we release an important follow-up conversation with Dawn Harper-Nelson. In our preparation for our original interview with Dawn, we missed an important detail that should have been central to that first discussion. After posting episode 84, we learned that Dawn actually served a three-month suspension beginning in December of 2016 for unintentionally ingesting a banned substance.
In the fall of 2016, Dawn ended up in the emergency room with high blood pressure. The prescribed medication to get it under control contained the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide. Dawn attempted to check the medication, but the name on the bottle included an acronym that didn't match what was in the banned substance database. She documented everything about the incident (including a screenshot of her search) and was able to get all proof to USADA immediately after her adverse test result. That information led to the short, three-month suspension.
According to USADA, "Following an investigation into the circumstances of her case, including Harper-Nelson’s medical records, USADA has accepted Harper-Nelson’s explanation that her positive test was caused by a blood pressure medication she was prescribed by a physician to treat hypertension. Harper-Nelson further explained that she made efforts to determine if the medication contained prohibited substances; however, due to using partial search terms, those efforts were unsuccessful."
We sincerely apologize to you as listeners and to Dawn for this oversight. We absolutely still believe in Dawn as a clean athlete and are thankful to her for taking additional time to share the story of this situation. It's an important cautionary tale for clean athletes everywhere. If you are clean athlete and have questions about a potential medication, USADA encourages you to reach to their Athlete Express hotline at 1-866-601-2632.
Plus, if you haven't listened to episode 84 already, it's a must-listen as Dawn is such an inspiration.