The lowdown on accused Canadian doctor Anthony Galea

Dr. Anthony Galea treating a patient with shock Dr. Anthony Galea treating a patient with shock wave therapy at the Institute of Sports Medicine in Toronto. (December 16, 1999) Photo Credit: AP

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Deconstructing the federal investigation of Canadian physician Anthony Galea:

Who is Dr. Galea?

He is a Toronto-based sports medicine specialist who has been treating dozens of professional athletes and Olympians - from Tiger Woods to Donovan Bailey - for the past decade. He also has been team physician for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

Why is the federal governmentinvestigating him?

Galea is suspected of providing performance-enhancing drugs and/or human growth hormone (HGH) to professional athletes. The investigation is a joint venture by the FBI's Buffalo division, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Department of Homeland Security.

What led the authorities to suspect that?

Last Sept. 14, Galea's assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, was arrested when she allegedly attempted to smuggle "20 vials and 76 ampules" of drugs - including HGH - into the United States, according to the criminal complaint filed in Western District of New York court.

"Catalano admitted to agents that she knew the items that she was bringing into the United States were illegal and that she was doing this for her employer," the complaint said. "Catalano further admitted that her employer had had problems attempting to import these same items into the United States on previous occasions and that he had advised her that he was flagged at the border."

Galea already faces four charges from Canadian authorities regarding the drug Actovegin, which is an extract from calf's blood that anti-doping experts believe aids healing.

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Which MLB players have federal investigators spoken to?

Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran revealed they spoke to the FBI last week in separate interviews, and Alex Rodriguez said he has been asked to speak with them and plans to cooperate. Reyes and Beltran said they told investigators they did not receive HGH from Galea.

There may be more players who have conducted interviews. These are just the players who have admitted their involvement with the case publicly. A spokesman for the FBI's Buffalo office declined to comment.

Which other athletes has Galea worked with?

More than a dozen professional athletes and Olympians were mentioned in connection with Galea in newspaper stories in recent years, with the most notable being Tiger Woods. Galea told The New York Times last fall that he traveled to Florida "at least" four times early last year to perform platelet-rich plasma therapy, a procedure that has been growing in popularity among athletes because it is thought to speed the healing process.

Other athletes who reportedly have worked with Galea include baseball players Carlos Delgado and Huston Street, NFL players Chris Simms and Javon Walker, NHL players Jason Spezza and Adam Foote and Olympians Dara Torres and Bailey.

The Times reported Tuesday that prosecutors want to speak with Delgado. His agent, David Sloane, told Newsday that as of Tuesday afternoon, that was news to him.

Are these players in any legal jeopardy?

Only if they lie to federal investigators and the government is able to prove it,

Miguel Tejada, for example, pleaded guilty to misleading congressional investigators and received a year of probation, $5,025 in fines and 100 hours of community service. But the government's case against Barry Bonds on perjury charges has been on hold for the past year, and the grand jury investigation into whether Roger Clemens committed perjury before Congress has been ongoing for two years without resulting in an indictment.

What is platelet-rich plasma therapy?

It's a procedure in which blood is removed from a person, spun through a centrifuge, extracted with a higher percentage of platelets and injected back into the person. Galea told the Times he has never combined HGH or Actovegin with his platelet-rich plasma therapy.

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