Dr. Joshua Perper, the Broward County Medical Examiner, has ruled that Baltimore pitcher Steve Bechler the stimulant ephedra was a factor in his death recently.
Dr. Perper said Bechler, 23, had “significant amounts of Ephedrine” in his system, which contributed to his death from heatstroke.
Bechler died on Feb. 17 from multi-organ failure caused by heatstroke. Perper said that Xenadrine, which contains Ephedrine, was one of the risk factors that led to Bechler’s heatstroke, along with smaller quantities of two other stimulants, pseudoephedrine and caffeine.
His research indicated Bechler took three tablets of Xenadrine on the morning of Feb. 16, the day he collapsed at an Orioles’ workout.
“It was multiple factors, which includes the intake of Xenadrine,” Perper said. “It is my professional opinion that the toxicity of the ephedra played a significant role in the death of Mr. Bechler. Although it’s impossible to define mathematically, the contribution of each one of the factors which was a risk factor.”
During the autopsy, Perper said he discovered that Bechler had a history of asthma, an enlarged heart, hypertension, abnormal liver functions, and excessive weight.
Ephedra already is tested for and banned by the NCAA, NFL and International Olympic Committee.
“We remain prepared to discuss the issues raised by Mr. Bechler’s tragic death with the Players Association,” Major League Baseball said in a statement.
Bechler’s widow, Kiley, who is expecting the couple’s first child next month, has secured a lawyer and plans to filed a product liability suit against Cytodyne Technologies, which manufacturers the stimulant.