"I knew he was [applying for] the therapeutic use exemption, but I didn't know he was using his possible post-concussion syndrome as a reason to get it," said Ash, who heads the Brewers medical program.
Ash said players typically must receive a diagnosis from a psychiatrist to quality for a therapeutic use exemption (T.U.E.), usually for attention deficit disorder. According to Congressional testimony in January, 103 players did so in 2007.
Ash said he was not worried about the fact Cameron was seeing a neurologist. The Brewers have been well-versed in this area of study since July 2006, when third baseman Corey Koskie slid for a ball in foul territory and suffered what was believed to be a minor concussion. His symptoms of post-concussion syndrome proved serious, including nausea, fatigue and trouble with large, open spaces, and Koskie's playing career appears over.
Cameron's symptoms are apparently far more benign.
"I'm fine physically," he told USA TODAY. "But mentally, I'm not so sure. It's just little things. Lapses here and there. I may be fine, but it can't hurt. I just want to find out for sure and whether I need anything to help me."
Cameron says his two positive tests last season could only be attributed to an over-the-counter nutritional supplement he bought at a GNC store.
Cameron told a club spokesperson that he preferred not to talk further on the subject.
Beginning midway through last season, the Brewers began taking steps to protect players from unapproved products. Vitamins were thrown away, and a variety of sports drinks and nutrition shakes were removed from the clubhouse.
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Today, only certified drinks remain that are approved by NSF International, a Michigan-based company hired by Major League Baseball to test products for traces of banned substances. Approved drinks include Gatorade products, Red Bull and a very specific lot of the popular Myoplex shake. Vitamins in the training room were replaced by approved ones. Only certain snack bars are available.
"It gets very complicated, which is why we have narrowed it down to, 'Here is what you can take,' " Ash said.
Even if he receives a T.U.E., Cameron's suspension will stand, Ash said. Cameron will travel with the Brewers to Milwaukee for March 28-29 exhibitions against the Royals, then will travel home to Atlanta for a short break before returning to Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix for extended Spring Training. Cameron will rejoin the Brewers at some point in mid-April and will be allowed to work out with the team, but must leave the premises before the gates open. He can play the final five games of his suspension with Triple-A Nashville.
The Brewers signed Cameron during the offseason to a one-year, $7 million contract that will pay slightly more than $6 million because of the suspension. He has been outstanding so far in a Brewers uniform, batting .364 (8-for-22) with two home runs, four RBIs and a team-high nine runs scored in Cactus League games. Cameron had Wednesday off.
Ash did not anticipate a ruling on Cameron's application for a T.U.E. before Opening Day.