The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is Australia’s national anti-doping organisation established by the Australian Government in 2006. Their purpose is to protect Australia’s sporting integrity through the elimination of doping. They are an influential global anti-doping leader in sport helping Australia meet its international obligations and ensuring our sporting culture continues to be held in high regard all over the world.
You may think that just because your club’s players don’t get tested by ASADA then they don’t need to be educated about the status of certain supplements because they won’t get caught anyway. This certainly is NOT the case. If a player buys a supplement over the internet and has to get it imported to Australia, it can get picked up at customs, who will then inform ASADA so they will have to investigate. If the use of that particular substance is banned in that sport, then the person in question can be sanctioned. The use or attempted use of banned substances is an anti-doping rule violation and goes against the spirit of fair play in sport. Competing with integrity and striving to create a level playing field in sport at all levels are important concepts that clubs need to promote.
Victorian Football League Case Study
This exact scenario has actually happened just last year in the case of a VFL Footballer importing a fat-burning product from the US. This product contained traces of a performance-enhancing substance and was intercepted by Australian customs who then informed ASADA. The player in question claimed that he was unaware the product contained banned substances, however under the WADA code, ignorance is not a valid excuse. As a result of this, the player was banned from all sports for a period of 18 months and cannot play again until 2014. We at Sports Community, with the help of ASADA, want to eliminate any chance of this situation arising again.
ASADA offer many different educational services to help local clubs properly adhere to anti-doping rules in areas where they may otherwise be unsure of. One of ASADA’s key objectives is to educate athletes and clubs about anti-doping rules to prevent cases of inadvertent doping. The ASADA website (www.asada.gov.au) has many resources available to the public that will help clear up any uncertainty for local athletes and officials in terms of the status of certain substances. These include a link to the World Anti-Doping Agency website and code here http://www.asada.gov.au/rules_and_violations/index.html and a “Check your substances” section https://checksubstances.asada.gov.au/ where an athlete or official can search the legality of supplements they are using.
ASADA recognises at times athletes may actually need to use a prohibited medication to treat a legitimate medical condition. So their website also has a section where athletes can apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption http://www.asada.gov.au/substances/therapeutic_use_exemptions.html and also provides an informational video on Therapeutic Use Exemptions.
However, ASADA’s main educational product is called Pure Performance Online. This can also be accessed via their website here http://www.asada.gov.au/education/index.html. It is free and easy to use and its key feature is the anti-doping course that includes six modules covering the crucial areas of anti-doping that all athletes at any level should be aware of.
Pure Performance Online also contains:
- A fast-track test (40 question quiz)
- An annual test
- Facilitator courses (online training courses for staff who wish to train themselves to provide further education to their athletes)
Encouraging an individual to represent the club in completing the online facilitator course can be a beneficial strategy for a club. This person can then access the resources to provide face-to-face anti-doping education to players and officials at your club and ensure that the anti-doping code is being adhered to.
ASADA also provides a number of educational videos on anti-doping and supplement use on their YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/asadavideo. Included in these is the below video which features interviews with senior ASADA officials speaking about the dangers of supplement use.
As highlighted in the video, it is imperative that athletes exercise extreme caution when considering supplement use. This is a message that certainly needs to be understood by athletes at your club.
We strongly recommend that your club utilises at least some of the ASADA resources available for use to educate your athletes about the anti-doping policies in Australia.