Gary Wadler, 78; ex­pert on PEDs

Pawtucket Times - - REGION/OBITUARIES -

PORT WASH­ING­TON, N.Y. (AP) — Gary Wadler, one of the strong­est voices in the fight against per­for­manceen­hanc­ing drugs in sports, has died. He was 78.

Wadler's wife told The New York Times that her hus­band died of mul­ti­ple sys­tem at­ro­phy, a de­gen­er­a­tive neu­ro­log­i­cal disor­der.

Wadler tes­ti­fied in front of Congress in the 1990s about the way dop­ing was un­der­cut­ting the Olympics and threat­en­ing the health of elite ath­letes and, po­ten­tially, those who tried to em­u­late them.

He chaired the World An­ti­Dop­ing Agency com­mit­tee that con­sid­ers which sub­stances should be banned in sports, and was a lead­ing critic of the way Amer­i­can sports leagues, es­pe­cially the NFL and Ma­jor League Base­ball, ran their anti-dop­ing pro­grams.

When the NFL agreed to use blood test­ing for hu­man growth hor­mone, Wadler was skep­ti­cal, won­der­ing if the pro­gram it­self would have any teeth.

"The devil's in the de­tails," he said. "The rest of the story might be equiv­a­lent to hav­ing no test­ing at all."

He sounded sim­i­lar warn­ings when base­ball started its test­ing pro­grams in the wake of a steroid scan­dal that sul­lied the sport in the 1990s.

In 1989, Wadler co-wrote a book, "Drugs and the Ath­lete," that was a first-ofits-kind in de­tail­ing the im­pact steroids have on ath­letes and sports.

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