Education is a core component of the Irish Anti-Doping Programme and is a critical activity of National Governing Bodies (NGBs) in striving to ensure that their sport is drug-free. In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code (article 18), Sport Ireland and NGBs should work together to educate athletes and athlete support personnel on at least the following:
- Substances and methods on the Prohibited List and how to check their medications against the List
- Anti-doping rule violations
- Consequences of doping, including sanctions, health and social consequences
- Doping Control procedures
- Athletes' and Athlete Support Personnel's rights and responsibilities
- Therapeutic use exemptions
- Managing the risks of nutritional supplements
- Harm of doping to the spirit of sport
Education is important to minimise and hopefully eliminate the examples of athletes "inadvertently" committing anti-doping rule violations, for example without intention using an over-the-counter medication for a medical condition which contains prohibited substances. Sport Ireland provides a range of education materials and programmes, which the NGB is responsible for making available to their membership to increase awareness of the anti-doping rules.
Where to start?
Athletes and their support personnel often say they are not sure where to start learning about anti-doping. There is alot of information available about anti-doping, but a good place to start is to work through the various sections on this website to increase your knowledge of anti-doping, and check what leaflets or programmes would be useful to you.
Sport Ireland advises the following in relation to educating athletes:
- All athletes should be aware of what happens in a drug test and their rights and responsibilities
- All athletes should be aware of how to check their medication. If you need to use a prohibited substance please see therapeutic use exemptions
- Athletes who compete at international level competition should pay particular attention to section 1 of the Therapeutic Use Exemptions Policy where some International Federations require athletes to apply directly to them for a TUE.
- Registered Testing Pool athletes and their support personnel should be aware of, and understand their responsibilities for complying with whereabouts requirements, and the serious consequences for non-compliance
- Parents, Coaches, Team Doctors, G.P.s, Officials, Physiotherapists etc all play a role in ensuring their sport is drug-free, hence it is important that these groups also engage with, and learn about, the anti-doping rules in the same manner that an athlete would.