Tottenham Hotspur striker Chioma Ubogagu’s nine-month suspension was for acne medication

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A visit to the dermatologist turned into a nine month suspension for Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Women striker Chioma Ubogagu. The Football Association assigned the punishment for committing anti-doping rule violations because of an acne medicine. Although the hearing found that it was an innocent mistake, the suspension still stands. 

“Obviously, I should’ve known better, but it never occurred to me to check them on the banned substances list,” Ubogagu wrote for the Players’ Tribune. “My dermatologist knew I played football professionally, and I never had any issues with anything she’d prescribed me before.”

Ubogagu has suffered severe acne most of her life, so last year her dermatologist wanted to try something new and prescribed her spironolactone to help the issue. The medicine she took which is not performance-enhancing but it is a diuretic, which means it can be used as a masking agent. 

She was not aware of it until last October when she sent the team doctor a photo of her medication so he could help her get a refill. He texted her back and informed her she was taking a banned substance. That was bad timing, as she had taken a drug test just three weeks before. She got her results in December and failed the test. 

Ubogagu’s suspension started the beginning of the year and will end in October when the Women’s Super League season is already underway in England. She is currently not allowed to train or even attend a game. She wrote that she has experienced a lot of emotions, but that she will return and take advantage of every moment on the pitch.

“Had someone told me a year ago that I’d be celebrating a ban of nine months at this stage in my career, I would’ve thought they were crazy … but everything in perspective, right?” Ubogagu wrote. “Nine months is long, but it’s not The End.”

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