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Staying Clean in Sport

We have seen a vast amount in the media about doping in athletics recently, and many well known athletes have had a difficult time as allegations and rumours bounce backwards and forwards in the press. However, it may interest you to know that athletics counts for only 6% of the athletes currently serving a ban for doping rule violations in the UK. Cycling, another sport that regularly comes under the spotlight for alleged rule violations also only counts for 6%.

So which sports account for the highest rule violations? Which sports seem to have the biggest problem when it comes to doping? Well the sport that has by far the most athletes currently serving a ban is rugby. I have included league and union in this total, but rugby accounts for 57% of all UK athletes currently serving a ban for anti-doping rule violations, 44% more than any other sport. (2015)

This may come as a real surprise to many of you, as it is not something we hear much about in the media. However, if you read the circumstances of many of these violations (they are available for the public to view on the UKAD website) , it becomes a bit more obvious.

Avidly watching the rugby world cup, as I am, it is apparent how physical and brutal the game has become. It is wonderful and alarming to watch in equal measure, and obvious that for pro-rugby players to succeed and survive in the sport, they need to have serious physical presence, strength and power.

Reading through many of the banned rugby players statements on UKAD simply points to young players aspiring to be bigger and better, and just thinking they are doing the right thing by taking protein supplements to help them get there.

So for parents, coaches and athletes everywhere, it is important to remember a few basic facts before reaching for the next protein shake.

  • UK Anti-Doping does not consider any supplement to be 100% risk free.

  • Vast numbers of supplements have been found to contain banned substances that are not listed on the label.

  • Any athlete that is a member of a registered sport club can be drugs tested, even under 18s.

  • If you choose to take a supplement, you must declare it if you are drugs tested, and you must provide evidence to UKAD of the research you have done on this supplement prior to taking it.

  • The best kind of evidence you can provide is that you have used the website You should ensure the actual supplement that you have bought is on the website and keep a record of the batch number.

  • Most protein supplements are made using whey protein as the basis, this is found in milk.

  • Drinking milk or milk based drinks (milkshake, yogurt smoothy etc.) during and immediately after your strength training sessions is a good policy to adopt.

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