Va. chiropractor who treated hockey stars pleads to steroid charges, denies supplying athletes

By Matthew Barakat, AP
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Va. chiropractor pleads to steroids charges

McLEAN, Va. — A Virginia chiropractor who treated members of the Washington Capitals hockey team pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor steroids charges in Florida.

Douglas Nagel, 50, who had offices in the same Arlington, Va., mall complex as the Capitals’ practice facility, was placed on three years of probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, said Chip Thullbery, spokesman for the Polk County, Fla. State Attorney.

Nagel pleaded guilty to eight counts of attempted possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor. Nagel’s attorney, Luke Lirot, said the judge withheld formal adjudication of guilt, meaning that Nagel will not be formally convicted of a crime if he successfully completes his probation.

Lirot said the plea and reduced charges were possible because the “ensuing investigation showed that Dr. Nagel had not provided any substances to any sports figures, teams, or any other person, and accepted responsibility for his personal use of the substances from the very beginning of the investigation.”

Capitals players Matt Bradley, Shaone Morrisonn and Eric Fehr admitted receiving chiropractic treatment from Nagel but denied getting steroids from him. Nagel denied that he ever distributed steroids and said the drugs he ordered from a Florida supplier were for personal use.

The supplier, Andrew Thomas, had told investigators that Nagel had boasted the steroids were for professional athletes. Thomas was sentenced earlier this year to eight months in federal prison.

Police also expressed skepticism that the quantity of steroids ordered by Nagel were for personal use.

When Nagel was arrested in March, the NHL and the Capitals said the league had done a thorough investigation and that there was nothing linking the Nagel case to steroid use by any members of the team. But Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at the time that the NHL was not cooperative in his investigation of the case.

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