Anyone committing an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) may face a ban from sport. There are other consequences, too:

  • Disqualification of competition results
  • Loss of all medals and points
  • Target testing and possible investigations of the team in a team sport
  • In some cases, loss of points, disqualification from a competition or from the entire event for the team
  • Exclusion and loss of accreditation from Major Events such as the Olympic/Paralympic Games
  • Athlete Support Personnel may be investigated, and if the athlete is a Minor then an investigation is mandatory.

An ADRV goes well beyond the individual athlete or Athlete Support Personnel:

  • It has an impact on those who have been supporting athletes all the way: family, friends, teammates, sponsors, etc.
  • An athlete’s reputation as well as their country and sport’s reputations are affected.
  • An athlete’s physical and mental health could be at risk.
  • It only takes one athlete in a team sport/event to test positive for the consequences to impact the entire team such as, losing medals or even disqualification.

Substances and Methods on the Prohibited List

As an Athlete or Athlete support personnel, it is very important that you are familiar with the WADA Prohibited List and know how to check whether the medication you plan to take is prohibited or permitted. Remember that Athletes are solely responsible for what they ingest or use.

The Prohibited list is set by WADA and is updated at least annually. It includes both substances and methods and it is categorized into 3 groups:

  • Substances and methods prohibited at all times
  • Substances and methods prohibited in-competition
  • Substances prohibited in particular sports

A substance or method can be added to the Prohibited List if it meets two of the following three criteria:

  • It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance.
  • Use of the substance or method represents an actual or potential health risk to the Athlete.
  • Use of the substance or method violates the spirit of sport.

The Prohibited List is a comprehensive yet complicated document. Here are a few tips and tricks to help Athletes and Athlete support personnel navigate it:

  • Not everything on the Prohibited List is a medicine
  • Not every prohibited medicine is listed
  • Other substances with similar chemical structure or effect can also be prohibited
  • Only the ingredient names are listed, not brand names
  • Check the route of administration of the medicine
  • Check male or female use
  • Check dose restrictions
  • Many natural products are not specifically listed
  • Regularly check for updates to the Prohibited List

Both prescriptions and over-the-counter medications should be checked against the Prohibited List. Athletes should also inform their doctors of their obligations as high-performance Athletes.

Checking Medications

Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications should be checked against the Prohibited List. Athletes should also inform their doctors and other medical professionals of their obligations as high-performance Athletes and emphasize the fact that they are subject to the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code.

We recommend the use of Global Dro to check all medications. The Global Drug Reference Online (Global DRO) provides Athletes and Support Personnel with information about the prohibited status of specific medications based on the current World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Risks of Supplements

Extreme caution is recommended regarding supplement use. A number of positive tests have been attributed to the misuse of supplements, poor labelling or contamination of dietary supplements and there is no guarantee that a supplement is free from prohibited substances.

Risks of supplements include:

  • Manufacturing standards, which are often less strict compared with medicines. These lower standards often lead to supplement contamination with an undeclared prohibited substance;
  • Fake or low-quality products which may contain prohibited substances – and be harmful to health;
  • Mislabelling of supplements with ingredients wrongly listed and prohibited substances not identified on the product label;
  • False claims that a particular supplement is endorsed by Anti-Doping Organisations or that it is “safe for Athletes”. Remember, Anti-Doping Organisations do not certify supplements and the product label may contain misleading messaging.

All Athletes should do a risk-benefit assessment if they are considering the use supplements. The first step of such an assessment is to consider whether a “food-first” approach meets the Athlete’s needs. Whenever possible, such assessment should be done with a support of a certified nutritionist or other qualified professional who is familiar with the global and WAKO Anti-Doping Rules.

Checking your supplements

If, after careful consideration, an Athlete chooses to use supplements, they must take the necessary steps to minimise the risks associated with supplements. This includes:

  • Thorough research on the type and dose of the supplement, preferably with the advice of a certified nutritionist or other qualified professional who is familiar with the global and WAKO Anti-Doping Rules.
  • Selecting only those supplements that have been “batch-tested” by an independent company. Companies that batch-test supplements include Informed SportCertified for Sport or Kölner Liste.

Remember, no supplement is 100% risk-free but Athletes and Athlete Support Personnel can take certain steps to minimise these risks.