“Oil Changes” Put Athletes’ Health At Risk

Cecilia Levine, Managing Editor

Recent revelations that former Pace football players attempted to avoid detection on University- administered drug tests yielded a wide variety of emotions on campus, ranging from shock and embarrassment to disbelief and denial.

Almost lost in the pile of breached contracts and fraudulent test results that have accumulated on the desks of deans and athletic officials, is the fact that the aforementioned group of players put their health at risk by undergoing a practice known as an “oil change”.

The procedure, which was administered by university nursing students, required athletes to urinate so that clean urine could be filtered in to their empty bladders through a catheter.

When Dean and Professor of Lienhard Dr. Harriett Feldman and Associate Dean for Administration Dr. Gerrie Colombraro were alerted of the incidents two weeks ago when they addressed their former students’ actions in The Pace Chronicle, they were able to provide insight regarding the health risks associated with the procedures.

“You must absolutely know that the urine is indeed not contaminated by anything. Accurate medical history and lab work are what will determine if the urine is clean,” Colombraro said.

While the athletes may have avoided detection as the provided urine was indeed bereft of any banned substances, it is difficult to say as to whether or not it was sterile.

“Urine is only sterile while inside of the body. Once it leaves the body it may be clean, but it is no longer sterile,” Colombraro said. “The transfer of urine must be done through closed system catheterization.”

The overall procedure must be sterile from start to finish. The environment must be sterile, the skilled professionals must wear gloves and all urine being transferred must remain in sealed ampules at all times. Had the urine supplier been ill or carried a certain type of cancer that affects the kidneys, then the recipient likely would have contracted the disease. Further, catheterization is a process only to be administered by skilled professionals.

“[The nursing department] works hard to inculcate professional behaviors into all learning experiences,” Feldman said. “It is an unethical thing to use skills as a health practitioner in ways that are unethical to do.”

From scrubs to social conduct and vigilance of cheating, nursing students are required to adhere to department policies. One current nursing major, Mary Alice Hall, feels that the actions of her former peers may reflect poorly on their respective departments.

“Nursing is a maturing force which promotes healing delivered by bearers of integrity. To participate in the reckless charade of ‘oil changing’ underscores the nursing discipline. We nursing students should be defending our future license with a fierce ardor and not imperil our efforts,” Hall said.

Colombraro noted that nursing is a life and death profession where the actions that one taken, or not taken, will ultimately make a difference.

“It also shows these nursing students are not the swiftest of individuals, nor the most competent, so for those of you who received the oil change I hope for the sake of your urethra and bladder that no damage was done!” Hall said.

One former football player who has since graduated from Pace agrees with Hall, speculated that the efforts made by his teammates to rid themselves of banned substances may have transcended onto the playing field.

“I still think that the reason why we kept losing was because [athletes] were too busy trying to flush drugs out of their systems,” said the source, who added that he accompanied his roommate on a trip to purchase the necessary supplies for the procedure and then witnessed it.

Other former football players, their  friends and one residence assistant were not willing to come forward but were able to confirm that the procedures were not a rare occurrence in some years that Chris Dapalito’s was the head football coach.

“No unfortunately I’m not aware of [catheterization] and I probably don’t want to comment either, I’m sorry to hear about it,” Dapalito said.