Parents and partners of Essendon Football Club players involved in the recent doping controversy have been summoned to a meeting on Tuesday after more evidence of drug use came to light.
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Tayte Pears of Essendon tries to get past a West Coast Eagles player in Sunday's game. The Bombers are facing action from the AFL if doping allegations are proved.
In particular, the Bombers management is expecting outrage from players' families, who face the possibility of sustaining long-term health issues.
"We are once again seeking your support in recognizing the importance of keeping this meeting confidential," the club said in an e-mail sent to families of players from the 2012-2013 season. Essendon had already convened the same group in February, just as the news of doping accusations was about to break out.
At the center of this latest scandal are the banned drugs Thymosine and AOD-9604. The Herald Sun reported that players were supposed to receive a total of 1,500 injections of both drugs, on top of taking Colostrum and Tribulus.
The club was originally alarmed in late 2012 when a private clinic sent them a bill for $61,000. It appears that the club's medical staff was not aware of the treatments, which were arranged for by sports scientist Stephen Dank. Particularly affected was club doctor Bruce Reid, who told ASADA that he only approved the use of AOD-9604 for players recovering from bone injuries. Reid is included in the charges brought against the club by the AFL.
Many Essendon players have kept their medical records and are contemplating going to independent doctors, if they were not already doing so, The Age reported.
"I know of several players who have taken blood tests outside of the club in the past few months," said The Age's source, who is described as a former senior club figure. He went on to add that players are concerned after being told by ASADA about the long-term effects of their doping regimen, including infertility and congenital defects in children.
A hearing at the AFL Commission is set for Aug 26, but indications seem to point that a solution involving the courts is favoured by both the club and the AFL.
As for the players and their families, should their worst fears be confirmed, legal action could be not far behind.
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