New Zealand basketballer Jordan Mills has been suspended from all basketball for 12 months having tested positive for a banned substance.
The Wellington Saints player used an asthma inhaler but did not declare its use when tested after an NBL game on May 19 this year.
Mills recorded a positive test for Terbutalaine, which is a Beta-2 Agonist which is prohibited at all times on the 2017 Prohibited List. It is used to treat asthma and other pulmonary illnesses, but it also could enhance an athlete's sports performance. As a result he has been provisionally suspended from May 19.
The guard had his ban reduced because it was accepted the offending was unintentional.
"It wasn't good enough that I simply relied on my doctors to ensure that any medications I was prescribed were permitted under the WADA Code," Mills said. "I should have personally checked my medications and had I done that, I would have known I needed a TUE or to use a different asthma medication.
"It's disappointing, and I think unfair, that I end up with a ban for legitimate asthma medication longer than many athletes who test positive for illegal substances such as marijuana, but I guess that highlights the importance of checking these things yourself and not relying on others or assuming things will be okay," he said.
Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief executive Nick Paterson agrees that it's disappointing when an athlete who was not intentionally doping is banned from sport for not doing the basics expected of someone competing in a national competition.
"Mr Mills should have known better, having attended an anti-doping education seminar earlier this year and having competed in the NBL for a number of years in New Zealand. He has been tested before and knows about the resources available to him.
"Our role at DFSNZ is to uphold the World Anti-Doping Code, and athletes and their support personnel need to do their part too, fulfilling their responsibility to check every year whether or not their medication is permitted in sport.
"The majority of these inadvertent cases over the past few years demonstrates that we need to continue to work closely with National Sports Organisations in providing education for their athletes to help them understand their anti-doping responsibilities," Mr Paterson says.
DFSNZ provides anti-doping seminars to NBL teams and players annually and all DFSNZ resources available at these seminars specifically mention terbutaline as a banned substance in and out of competition.
Athletes are required to apply for a TUE to use prohibited substances, if no other alternative medication is available.