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Identifying the banned substance: The chemical that led to the Red Bulls suspensions


Wondering what the image above is? It is the chemical make-up of androstatriendione, the substance that led to the suspensions of Red Bulls goalkeeper Jon Conway and Jeff Parke. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because it is an obscure chemical compound that isn’t even tested for by most professional leagues in the United States.

So how did this unknown substance lead to a pair of record suspensions? Major League Soccer has adopted a drug testing policy it has long championed as one of the strictest in professional sports and it proved it this week, with its 10-game ban for Conway and Parke.

So what is androstatriendione (ATD)?

It is a substance that, once ingested, can produce the steroid boldenone. Androstatriendione is a substance that can be found in over-the-counter nutritional supplements and one that Red Bulls head trainer Rick Guter stated came from a supplement taken by Conway and Parke, a supplement that did not include ATD in its list of ingredients.

Androstatriendione itself is not a steroid, but can produce a steroid in some people who ingest it.

Neither the club or MLS is going to identify the supplement because of legal issues, but it is clear that there are concerns about store-bought supplements being contaminated with substances that can produce steroid-like effects.

Here is my question. Do you think a 10-game ban is fair or too harsh for a substance that isn’t even tested for by the nation’s three major sports?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Jeff Parke is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He is a guy that will not leave until every kid gets an autograph. It is very easy to criticize people. I am CERTAIN Jeff was not aware of the substances of OTC supplement. Parke is a CLASS ACT and if you knew him you would say the same thing.

  2. OK look..Im a pro athlete. We take the utmost care of our bodies and keep ourselves in top shape. We cannot eat and drink the things that most people do. There are so many vitamins, minerals, supplements etc.. that are used by MOST pro athletes to help us get the nutrients that we need. I use a protein shake supplement from one of these chains. It very well could have something like this hidden in it that I do NOT know about..I am NOT trying to cheat by drinkin my shake, but simplu trying to get the protein that i need daily to perform at my top level that YOU FANS want us too. But, then to turn around and pose a 10 game suspension for THIS type of situation is uncalled for. I could see a few games, simply to save face for the public that thinks the substance was some illegal narcotic..So what happens if someone is caught taking something that IS actually harmful to him / her??? Think rationally about this.. Was the substance injested a narcotic? Was it Illegal? Was is done intentionally? To gain an advantage? NO

  3. These posts are fascinating reads.

    In the previous string, someone said, they should have read the label to make sure banned supplements were not in it.

    The trainer read the label and the substance was not in it.

    Why don’t you all gather up with your pitchforks and march to the Red Bulls and demand their heads!

    They should appeal it. Again, we don’t even know what percentage of the substance was found in the unlabeled product. I the manufacturer should be sued to at least cover their fines.

  4. Michael K…

    “Name one.”

    Santino Quarenta…tested positive by MLS for cocaine, did not receive a ban because it was his “first time” testing positive (occured in ’06)…he admitted this back in June on another blog.


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