The elite athletic and training community was absolutely rocked by scandal earlier in 2016 after a USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) report was released that legendary track coaches operating as part of the Nike Oregon Project were pumping performance-enhancing drugs into all of their athletes and looking for new ways to circumvent anti-doping rules and regulations – not just in the US but at Olympic competitions as well.
However, that report is proving to have even more far-reaching impact than anyone could have thought at that point in time. More and more prominent members of the top athlete community are being implicated in the Nike Oregon Project scandal, including a prominent Oregon-based endocrinologist named Jeffrey Brown – a man with a very long history of prescribing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes even prior to the creation of the Oregon Project.
Caught red handed
During the investigation of Alberto Salazar (the legendary track coach that was the focus of the original investigation by USADA into the Nike Oregon Project), investigators became aware of an endocrinologist that was a major part of the project itself – a man with a tremendous background for prescribing PED’s to athletes even before he was brought on board.
Jeffrey Brown, an endocrinologist of nearly 25 years, was caught red handed after Alberto Salazar started to turn on his accomplices at the Oregon Project in an effort to get a reduced sentence – literally moments before he was about to prescribe performance-enhancing drugs to an athlete that was training at the program for the upcoming Summer Olympics in 2020.
A man with a checkered past
Jeffrey Brown was brought onto the Oregon Project because of his nearly 20 years of work with elite and top-tier track athletes. His very first high profile “client” was nine time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, a man that he diagnosed and treated for hypothyroidism – a disease that usually only impacts middle-aged or older women.
This was clearly a front to provide Carl Lewis with performance-enhancing drugs, and there are multiple cases of these kinds of prescriptions being made after all kinds of shady diagnosis protocols being followed by Brown and the rest of his medical team.
This kind of diagnosis was so rampant that Brown became known throughout the athletic community as a specialist in finding hypothyroidism in young athletes. Other endocrinologist basically shunned Brown for his very controversial testing protocol and very suspect diagnosis of these athletes, and most in the medical community were aware that Brown was doing so in an effort to prescribe performance-enhancing drugs under the innocuous appearing umbrella of medication.
The USADA had been looking into Brown for a while for they stumbled upon his connection to the Nike Oregon Project, but he was a bit of a “back burner” investigation. After they found out just how prominent he was in this performance-enhancing drug scandal they began to focus like a laser on him and his medical team as well as his 20 year track record for these kinds of prescription. And though the final sanctions haven’t come down on this endocrinologist many believe he will receive a lifetime ban from the USADA, US Olympic Committee, the IOC, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
This is definitely a story that is only just starting to be told, and a story that is really just starting to be understood. It’s likely that the Nike Oregon Project in the scandal revolving around will end up being one of the biggest performance-enhancing drug scandals in US athletic history, and investigators have only begun to scratch the surface.