Amanda Kendall Given Three-Month Suspension in February for Inhaler

Photo Courtesy: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

American sprinter Amanda Kendall is currently completing a three-month suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) after she self-reported using an inhaler that contained a banned substance. A source confirmed the news to Swimming World on Tuesday morning.

While dealing with bronchitis, Kendall was immediately prescribed a Breo inhaler that contained a banned beta-2 agonist called vilanterol. When she realized that the inhaler contained a banned substance, she self-reported the violation to USADA and received a suspension.

“I was prescribed the inhaler from a doctor after being diagnosed with bronchitis and used the inhaler to recover from my illness,” Kendall said in a statement provided by her lawyer, Robert Chelle. “The violation is completely my fault for failing to check the prescription on the prohibited substance list.  Moving forward I will never make this mistake again, and I hope other athletes will take note on how careful they need to be about what the put into their bodies (even medications prescribed by doctors). This entire situation has been quite embarrassing, and I’d like to thank my coaches and teammates for their support.”

During an out-of-competition test, Kendall actually tested negative for vilanterol. The suspension began Feb. 14 and will end next week. Kendall’s only competition during that time was the TYR Pro Swim Series meet in Atlanta, and she will vacate her results from that meet. Kendall, who currently represents the Mission Viejo Nadadores and trains at Indiana University, is entered in next week’s TYR Pro Swim Series meet in Indianapolis.

Kendall had the option to appeal the suspension or apply for a retroactive TUE, but she chose not to in order to not prolong the process of an appeal. There is precident for a successful appeal in a situation like this — in 2016, breaststroker Sam Tierney tested positive for vilanterol and only received a public reprimand after he successfully appealed his three-month suspension.

Chelle provided a full statement, available below.

USA Swimming National Team member Amanda Kendall has accepted a three-month sanction from USADA resulting from the declared use of an inhaler which contained a prohibited substance in conjunction with an out-of-competition drug test in Bloomington, Ind., on February 14, 2018. She declared the use of the inhaler (without knowledge that it contained a prohibited substance) on her Doping Control Official Record (“DCOR”) which is a list that each athlete must fill out when tested that identifies all substances they have consumed in the last seven days (vitamins, medications, supplements, etc.). Amanda’s sample taken from the drug test was negative; however, her declaration of the use of the inhaler containing a beta-2 agonist was justification for USADA to issue a sanction. The Sanction is back dated to the date of the test, so she will be eligible to compete on May 14th.

In an attempt to be as transparent as possible, Amanda is willing to discuss the exact sequence of events which lead to the Sanction in an effort to educate others on the need for strict vigilance concerning the use of prescribed medications.  On February 1, 2018, Amanda presented to an urgent care clinic due to a persistent cough, sore throat, and congestion that had persisted for the previous week. Amanda was diagnosed by one of the urgent care clinic’s physicians with bronchitis and sinusitis, and was prescribed an antibiotic and an inhaler to treat her bronchospasms.  Amanda relied upon the advice of the treating physician, and her diagnosis of bronchitis did not immediately alert her to any potential prohibited substances from medications typically prescribed for bronchitis. Thus, she used the inhaler for the prescribed period of time (seven days) without knowledge that it contained a prohibited substance. She then declared her use of the inhaler on her DCOR during the February 14th drug test, and was alerted by USADA that she had declared the use of an inhaler containing a prohibited substance a few weeks later.

Amanda acknowledges that, as a member of the USA Swimming 2017-18 National Team, it is her ultimate responsibility (not the physicians) to make certain any medication she takes is not prohibited, and that she should have checked the 2018 World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List prior to using the inhaler.