Dank on pep­tides charges

Herald Sun - - FRONT PAGE - MATT CUN­NING­HAM AND MARK BUT­TLER

DIS­GRACED sports sci­en­tist Stephen Dank has been charged with sev­eral of­fences in the Northern Ter­ri­tory re­lat­ing to his con­tro­ver­sial pep­tide in­jec­tions.

Dank — the ar­chi­tect of Essendon Foot­ball Club’s in­fa­mous sup­ple­ments regime that saw 34 play­ers banned for a year — has been charged with caus­ing se­ri­ous harm, reck­lessly endangerin­g se­ri­ous harm and fraud.

The charges re­late to his brief pe­riod of em­ploy­ment at Dar­win’s Age­less Health Clinic in early 2017, but lawyers say it could have ma­jor ram­i­fi­ca­tions for any fu­ture le­gal ac­tion taken by Essendon play­ers.

Player man­ager Peter Jess, who has been rep­re­sent­ing Essendon foot­ballers in re­cent years, said the charges against Dank were alarm­ing.

Mr Jess said there was never any proof Bombers play­ers were in­jected with thyamosin beta-4, the sub­stance for which they were banned.

The Dar­win case placed fresh doubt on what was given to them and the po­ten­tial health im­pli­ca­tions, he said.

“It raises ob­vi­ous con­cerns from my point of view,” Mr Jess said. “Were there any other sup­ple­ments/drugs that were given?

“I don’t think there’s any pos­si­bil­ity he in­jected them with thyamosin beta-4. It wasn’t in the coun­try.”

Dank de­clined to com­ment when con­tacted this week.

“Good to see the news­pa­pers are on their toes,” he said. “Thanks for your time.”

The charges are the lat­est step in a huge fall from grace for the man once lauded for his cut­ting-edge ap­proach to train­ing elite ath­letes.

The mas­ter­mind of the Bombers’ sup­ple­ments pro­gram, he was given a life ban by the AFL anti-dop­ing tri­bunal in 2015 af­ter be­ing found guilty of 10 breaches of the anti-dop­ing code.

In 2016, the 34 Essendon play­ers who took part in Dank’s in­jec­tion regime were banned from com­pe­ti­tion for 12 months. The scan­dal also con­trib­uted to the res­ig­na­tions of Bombers coach James Hird and as­sis­tant coach Mark Thomp­son.

Man­age­ment at the clinic de­clined to com­ment yes­ter­day. In 2017, the clinic said Dank had been hired “to en­sure the clinic can of­fer and demon­strate the best knowl­edge in pep­tide treat­ment and ther­apy”. Dank has been sum­monsed to ap­pear in Dar­win Lo­cal Court on De­cem­ber 18.

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