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Athlete Medical Records Altered By Doctor

Dr Jeffrey Brown, the doctor at the centre of the Nike Oregon Project (NOP) drugs investigation, altered medical records of athletes before handing them to anti-doping authorities, according to new disclosures.

Brown, along with controversial NOP coach Alberto Salazar, has been under investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency ever since Panorama program of BBC and ProPublica alleged doping and unethical practice at the Nike Oregon Project in 2015. Funded by Nike and led by Salazar, the elite endurance camp includes Britain's double Olympic champion Mo Farah.

An interim report by USADA investigators into the NOP claims was leaked by the Russian hacking group Fancy Bears in February this year.

New disclosures seen by the BBC and ProPublica implicate Dr Brown, a Texas-based endocrinologist who has treated many athletes of Salazar, and has been previously accused of prescribing thyroid medication to athletes to boost performance.

Dr Brown, who is Salazar's personal physician, handed the medical records of certain athletes, including Steve Magness, then also Salazar's assistant coach to the United States Anti-Doping Agency. However, Magness claims his medical notes have been altered by Dr Brown. Magness said he asked for a copy of his notes to be given to him in August 2015 before a release form was signed to allow USADA to recover them from his former physician.

A note shows details of an infusion of a controversial but legal supplement L-carnitine carried out by Dr Brown in his office in Texas, on the instructions of Salazar, in 2011. In the same note later provided by Dr Brown's office to USADA, various additions appear to have been made that suggested a full health check has been carried out by Dr Brown on Magness.

The supplement, L Carnitine, is legal, and is produced naturally in the body and is helpful to convert fat to energy. It is believed that Salazar had been excited by a study that suggested the benefits of L-carnitine and was eager to try it on his athletes.

Salazar wrote to Lance Armstrong, who was then training for a long-distance triathlon, after trialing it on Magness. Salazar asked Lance Armstrong to call him at the earliest and said we have tested it and it is amazing. Salazar also communicated to Armstrong that you are the only athlete he is going to tell the actual numbers to other than Galen Rupp.

Magness, who is now a coach at the University of Houston, says those checks were never done. Magness, who left the Nike Oregon Project in 2012, remarked he does not recall these being done and went on to remark that he was not even in a patient room but instead in his office during this visit. Magness also commented his only speculation is that some boxes on the document were ticked to make it look like care for the patient had been given and said he might have realized after the fact that when you have a patient, your doctoral duty is to the health of that individual.

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Albert Wolfgang
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