Thunder's Ratcliff banned two years for positive drug test
The Langley Thunder will be without one of their leading scorers after the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports handed down a two-year suspension to Lewis Ratcliff.
The decision was announced on March 13.
“I accept full responsibility for the results of the test and I sincerely apologize for any disappointment this may have caused,” Ratcliff said in a statement he released to media.
“As a professional athlete, I make every effort to avoid prescription and over-the counter medications that could put me at risk.”
The 31-year-old Ratcliff was tied for the Thunder scoring lead with 57 points (26 goals, 31 assists) in a dozen games. And he continued his torrid scoring pace in the Western Lacrosse Association playoffs with 23 goals and 49 points in 10 games as the Thunder won their second straight WLA league title to advance to the Mann Cup finals.
And it was at the Mann Cup where the CCES conducted drug testing and Ratcliff’s urine revealed the presence of oxandrolone and clenbuterol, two prohibited anabolic agents, as well as oxycodone, a prohibited narcotic.
Ratcliff said a shoulder injury suffered last fall — which will require surgery following his National Lacrosse League season — led him to acquire a doctor’s prescription for pain medicine in order to get him through the playoffs.
“Regarding the performance enhancing substances, I never knowingly or intentionally took any banned substances,” Ratcliff said.
“Like many professional athletes, I am very health conscious, and regularly include nutritional supplements as a part (of) my daily routine and diet. I buy these at the local nutritional and supplement stores in my neighbourhood.”
“Unlike the major sports, where knowledge resources are easily available to identify substances that appear on banned lists, in lacrosse we are left to our own resources to stay up to date regarding these substances. I tested positive due to something I took in a common over the counter supplement.”
“We believe Lewis’s statement that his violation was inadvertent,” said Thunder general manager Gerry Van Beek.
“We will do what we can to support him; he is part of our family.
“We will do whatever we can to help him through this difficult time.”
Ratcliff went on to state his opposition to performance enhancing drugs.
“I believe that athletic performance and success should be measured by how hard an athlete works on the field and am adamantly opposed to taking any type of performance enhancing substances,” Ratcliff said.
“For me, sport is about pure competition, not about using an artificial substance to get ahead.
“I try to live my life as a role model and hope that this can somehow become a learning experience for both me and others to pay closer attention to the food that we eat and the medications that we take in our daily lives.
The ban took effect Nov. 10, 2012 and Ratcliff will be eligible to return Nov. 9, 2014.
Ratcliff, who lives in Redmond, Wash., also plays for the NLL’s Washington Stealth.
His suspension does not affect his status in that league.
Through the season’s first dozen games, Ratcliff has 22 goals and 47 points, both of which are second on the team.