How Ancient Mummies Helped This Soccer Player Get to the World Cup
After Paolo Guerrero tested positive for cocaine, scientists used Inca mummies to argue that the result may have been influenced by something else.
When Peruvian soccer player Paolo Guerrero's drug test showed trace amounts of metabolite benzoylecgonine last October, it seemed unlikely the star player would make it to the 2018 World Cup.
That's because metabolite benzoylecgnine is found in cocaine, and FIFA, the entity that functions like a governing body for global soccer, has strict consequences for players caught using illegal drugs. Guerrero was slapped with a year-long ban, meaning he would be benched during the the premier international sporting event, which is only held once every four years.
Claiming the penalty was unjust, Guerrero fought the decision, saying he had likely been served coca tea by mistake after requesting tea to soothe a cold. With sugar and various spices added to the