Kiwi footballer banned for six months

Women's footballer Kelsey Kennard has been banned from all sport for six months. Photo / Getty
Women's footballer Kelsey Kennard has been banned from all sport for six months. Photo / Getty

A Kiwi footballer has been banned from all sport for six months for taking a prohibited substance.

The Sports Tribunal of New Zealand today issued a suspension to women's national league player Kelsey Kennard after she took Probenecid last year.

The substance is commonly prescribed with antibiotics and Kennard received it after being diagnosed with a cellulitis infection in September, but it is prohibited in sport and athletes need to apply for an exemption if they wish to use it.

Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive Graeme Steel said Kennard's case highlighed the need for all athletes to make sure they exercised "utmost caution" when taking medications.

"Drug Free Sport NZ stresses that athletes need to check whether a medication is prohibited in sport before they take it," Steel said. "Ms Kennard has learned a hard lesson for not doing this and we would hope that other athletes learn from her mistake and take action to check the status of medications before they take them."

Kennard was not playing competitive football when she took Probenecid, but soon after began playing in the National Women's Football League. She said she did not appreciate the length of time that Probenecid would stay in her system.

Kennard told the tribunal "it did not occur to her" to check the status of the medication she was taking - even after attending a DFSNZ education seminar - and the tribunal said this was not good enough.

"We consider that for Ms Kennard to simply say that it did not occur to her to make inquiries about the medication she had recently been given fell below the standard of what a reasonable athlete in her position should have done," the tribunal said in its decision. "We consider that Ms Kennard bore some fault in not taking any steps to check her position either with Drug Free Sport NZ or internally within the team."

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