Top American long distance running coach Alberto Salazar has long been known to push the limit when it comes to the performance-enhancing substances he uses on his athletes. Salazar himself was an elite marathon runner in the 1980s. He later stopped running competitively, but he never truly left the track. He is now a track coach, working with many elite long distance runners, including Olympic medalists such as Mo Farah.
Salazar holds a position as the head coach of the Nike Oregon Project, [a prestigious training group for elite runners funded by the popular athletic shoe company]. Steve Magness, a former NOP assistant coach, has blown the whistle on Salazar’s suspected promotion of PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) and his suspicious misuse of prescription drugs in the athletes he coaches.
Salazar referred some of his athletes to Dr Jeffery Brown, an endocrinologist based in Houston. Brown liberally diagnosed Salazar’s athletes with various medical conditions and prescribed several different pharmaceutical drugs to treat the athletes’ alleged ‘medical conditions.’ The prescription drugs provided by Brown, which would otherwise be illegal, include asthma medications such as T3 (Cytomel), salbutamol (Albuterol) and injectable L-carnitine.
L-carnitine is a legal dietary supplement, which helps the body transform fat to energy. However, Salazar has been caught using a prescription-only injectable version on his athletes, for suspicious purposes. Under the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), L-carnitine is legal as long as the infusion does not exceed the amount of 50 mL within 6 hours, but the personal medical records of one of Salazar’s athletes suggests an amount that is superior to 50 mL.
In recent ProPublica/BBC news report, a USADA report reportedly leaked by a Russian hacking group exposed the athletes’ medical records, which the USADA obtained from Dr Jeffery Brown. The report noted, however, that some of the records seem to have been edited. Whistleblower Steve Magness, who had been a patient of Brown’s since his days as a top distance runner in high school, has even said that one of the records detailing his own treatments that Brown gave the USADA does not match his copy of the records.
Magness speculated that the records had been altered to make it appear as if patient care had been given, whereas in reality, Magness admitted that during his visit to Dr Jeffery Brown, he had actually served as a guinea pig and tested a possibly performance-enhancing procedure.
According to the USADA report, “USADA has found that these potential anti-doping rule violations appear to have wholly or largely occurred in the context of a larger conspiracy between Nike Oregon Project Coach Alberto Salazar and Houston endocrinologist Dr. Jeffrey Brown to collude in order to employ risky and untested alternative and unconventional (and sometimes potentially unlawful) uses of medical procedures and prescription medications (including both substances and methods prohibited under the rules of sport…) to attempt to increase the testosterone, energy and blood levels of Nike Oregon Project athletes in order to boost athletic performance.”
However, Brown’s attorney, Joan Lucci Bain, insisted that the records Brown supplied the USADA with are entirely accurate. She denied the accusations in the report, namely that the medical records were falsified, and continues to insist Jeffery Brown’s innocence.