A visit to the dermatologist turned into a nine-month suspension for Tottenham Hotspur FC Women striker Chioma Ubogagu. The Football Association has imposed a sanction for committing anti-doping rule violations because of an acne drug. Although the hearing concluded that this was an innocent mistake, the suspension still stands.
“Obviously I should have 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 prescribed me before.”
Ubogagu has suffered from severe acne most of his life, so last year his dermatologist wanted to try something new and prescribed him spironolactone to fix the problem. The medication she took does not improve performance, but it is a diuretic, which means it can be used as a masking agent.
She only realized this last October when she sent the team doctor a picture of her medication so he could help her replenish. He texted her back and informed her that she was taking a banned substance. It was a bad time, because she had taken a drug test three weeks before. She got her results in December and failed the test.
Ubogagu’s suspension started at the start of the year and will end in October as 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 had been through a lot of emotions, but would come back and enjoy every moment on the pitch.
“If someone had told me a year ago that I would be celebrating a nine-month ban at this point in my career, I would have thought they were crazy… but all in perspective, right? Ubogagu wrote. “Nine months is a long time, but it’s not the end.”