Former UW Team Physician Faces Drug Inquest

The UW is investigating charges that a former team physician may have distributed prescription drugs without following proper medical procedures, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Oct. 23.

According to investigators of the state's medical licensing authority, Dr. William Scheyer wrote hundreds of prescriptions and issued thousands of doses of controlled substances--including anabolic steroids, narcotics, sedatives, stimulants and tranquilizers--in the names of various athletes and trainers. They allege that he paid for the drugs himself, creating a stockpile of medications that were then given to others not listed on the prescription.

On Oct. 17 the state Medical Quality Assurance Commission suspended Scheyer's medical license. On Oct. 28 officials said there would be a joint criminal investigation into Scheyer's actions conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Washington State Patrol.

Also under investigation by the state licensing authority is Swedish Hospital pharmacist Edward Matsukawa, who is charged with dispensing controlled substances that were not issued for the sole use of the patients.

Scheyer was one of the UW's team physicians from 1984 to 1999. The department then switched to UW Medicine for its team physicians, but Scheyer stayed on as the softball team physician at the request of Softball Coach Teresa Wilson. Two years ago he was moved to volunteer status with the softball team and in September was removed entirely.

The last time the UW softball team was tested for banned substances was at the 2001 College World Series. All the athletes passed. A 1987 lawsuit prohibits the UW from conducting random drug tests on its student-athletes.

State charges against Scheyer assert that he "often distributed the drugs with little or no medical evaluation, and kept almost no medical records for the athletes."

Scheyer is a sports medicine specialist and was a founder of the Washington Institute of Sports Medicine in Kirkland. He is no longer on the institute's staff.

Scheyer's attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., told the press that the doctor has conducted "a long and distinguished career as a well-respected sports doctor." He added that Scheyer has worked "tirelessly, in his free time, as a volunteer and out of devotion to the University."

As Columns went to press in mid-November, the results of the UW investigation were still pending. Pac-10 Conference officials said they will wait for the UW to complete its internal investigation before making a decision on how to proceed. It is the NCAA's policy to neither confirm nor deny any possible investigation of its members.

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