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FDA Rejects Creatine Role in Deaths

April 30, 1998

DETROIT (AP) _ A drug that had been suspected as a contributing cause in the deaths of three college wrestlers has been ruled out as a primary cause, a spokesman from the Federal Drug Administration said Thursday.

FDA spokesman Arthur Whitmore didn’t rule out that another drug, ephedrine, may have been involved in the deaths of the wrestlers who were attempting to shed several pounds in short periods of time.

College wrestling was shaken late last year by the deaths of three athletes. Jeff Reese of Michigan died Dec. 9 in the most widely publicized incident. Joseph LaRosa of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Billy Saylor of Campbell University died in November.

The NCAA has since instituted stiffer restrictions on weight-loss practices by college athletes.

After the deaths were publicized, the FDA announced that it planned to investigate the effects of creatine, a synthetic muscle-building supplement widely used by athletes.

On Thursday, Whitmore said creatine was not figuring prominently in the FDA investigation.

``Creatine does not appear to have been a major factor in the death of these wrestlers,″ he said.

Whitmore said more results from the FDA investigation could be released in a few weeks.