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Gary Wadler, Expert on Doping in Sports, Dies at 78

Six years later, when Dr. Wadler testified at a House Government Reform Committee hearing about steroid abuse in Major League Baseball, he said that early drug testing by the sport had exposed an unacceptably high number of positive results. He excoriated M.L.B.’s testing policy as one “designed to silence its critics” but not strict enough to detect all possible drug abuse.

“Why should we care?” he asked. “We should care for many reasons, but perhaps most notable is that baseball, our national pastime, for better or worse, is a role-model sport and likely contributes to the alarming abuse of anabolic steroids by teenagers.”

Dr. Wadler was also an expert witness for the Justice Department’s steroid prosecutions and a substance abuse adviser to the National Basketball Association.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said in a statement that Dr. Wadler’s “impact for the good of sport and the health of athletes will long remain.”

Gary Irwin Wadler was born in Brooklyn on Jan. 12, 1939. His father, Samuel, was a window trimmer for stores, and his mother, the former Anne Lowenthal, was a teacher.

After graduating from Brooklyn College and Cornell Medical School, Dr. Wadler started his career as an internist. For many years he was a clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University.

Dr. Wadler acknowledged that he was not very athletic and did not follow sports religiously. He watched sports for relaxation, he said. “I’m the classic two left feet,” he told Newsday in 2003. “I’m still struggling on the tennis court.”

His first professional foray into sports started in 1980, when he became the tournament physician at the United States Open tennis tournament, a position usually held by an orthopedist.

In 1982, Martina Navratilova, who had not yet won a U.S. Open singles title, visited him and complained of weakness.

“She had swollen glands,”…

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