Netballer banned for online tablets
Netballer banned for online tablets

Athletes are being warned about taking supplements after a WA netballer was suspended from the sport for two years after testing positive to a banned drug contained in weight-loss pills she bought online.

Sarah Tatam, who plays for the South East Demons in the State Netball League, tested positive to sibutramine after an anti-doping test at the State grand final in July.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority banned Tatam for two years in January.

It is believed the drug was contained in a herbal weight-loss supplement ordered online.

Netball Australia chief executive Kate Palmer said the sanction was disappointing for the sport, and was a timely reminder for athletes who took supplements.

"Unfortunately Sarah has fallen into the trap of ordering a supplement online," she said. "This is a cautionary tale for all our athletes that taking supplements may create a significant risk to their sporting and personal integrity."

Department of Sport and Recreation director-general Ron Alexander said the sanction was the first against a WA netballer.

Experts warned that so-called "herbal" pills, particularly those bought online, were often adulterated with pharmaceutical drugs that were not identified on the packaging.

Ian Mullaney, senior lecturer in pharmacology at Murdoch University, said sibutramine was used as an appetite suppressant and was commonly found as an adulterant in herbal slimming medicines.

Royal Perth Hospital toxicologist Kerry Hoggett said sibutramine was withdrawn from the Australian market in 2010 after a number of adverse reactions, which included heart attacks and strokes in patients prescribed the drug.

"Despite this, unlisted sibutramine and its analogues have been recurrently found in supposedly 'herbal' weight loss products," Dr Hoggett said.

State lawn bowls player Luke Richardson last week concluded his three-month ban for testing positive to cannabis during a national Bowls Australia event last year.

Bowls WA chief executive Ken Pride said the association was disappointed it took nearly a year for the ban to be enforced but players were under no illusions as to their responsibilities.

'This is a cautionary tale for all our athletes.'"


  • Kate Palmer * Netball Australia's

The West Australian

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