Cousins to be tested weekly for drugs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cousins to be tested weekly for drugs

By Adam Cooper 03/07/2007 07:58:49 PM Comments (0)

West Coast's Ben Cousins will be subjected to weekly drug tests for the rest of his AFL career.

Cousins is a couple of medical tests away from being ready to enter the AFL fray again, but the league confirmed the fallen star would be subjected to an onerous drug testing regime to ensure he never slips into drug use again.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou claimed Cousins' comeback, which could culminate in a return against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night at Subiaco Oval, was proof rehabilitation from drug use was possible.

But Demetriou said Cousins, 29, was well aware he would be tested at least once a week for the rest of his playing career.

Under Cousins' revised contract with the Eagles, the Brownlow medallist could face the immediate sack if he tests positive once to illicit drugs, among other conditions.

"He will be target tested, in my view, for the rest of his career," Demetriou said.

"He will be target tested regularly on a weekly basis both by the AFL and ASADA (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) under the world anti-doping code, and he knows that."

Demetriou also said West Coast had been given permission to test Cousins for drugs, under AFL supervision.

Cousins on Monday returned to Eagles training for the first time in three months after undergoing rehabilitation for drug use.

The only hurdle for the former captain to clear now before he becomes eligible to play again is passing medical and psychological examinations, which will be conducted by AFL medical officers on Friday.

If the medical officers believe Cousins is ready to play, the Eagles could inform the AFL and Lions of their intention to play him on Saturday night.

The other option is for Cousins to play for his WAFL side East Fremantle.

The AFL, which has been under pressure from the federal government to toughen its out-of-competition drug code, believes Cousins has satisfied nearly all his prerequisites before playing again, with only the medical evaluation to come.

"If he gets the clearance to play, then it's very important that he returns to his workplace," Demetriou said.

"And this player shows that rehabilitation can work and he'll be welcomed back into the workplace, back on to the football field."

However, Demetriou is also keen for Cousins to eventually discuss his drug problem publicly.

The midfielder apologised in May for his actions in a short statement read out before a television camera.

Demetriou said he expected Cousins to explain himself at length in the future.

"I'm sure at a point in time when he is ready and I understand this also from medical advice that he'll speak publicly," he said.

"From a medical perspective, it's preferable that Ben speaks at a point in time where what he says he means and I think that's terribly important.

"You haven't heard what he's said yet, so I think it's terribly important that he does speak publicly at a point in time, absolutely."

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