Deakin University

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Australian athlete support personnel lived experience of anti-doping

journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-01, 04:33 authored by J Mazanov, D Hemphill, J Connor, F Quirk, S H Backhouse
Athlete support personnel (ASP) implement drug control policies for sport, such as anti-doping. Interviews with 39 ASP reveal how differences between policy and practice play out in their "lived experience" of anti-doping. While most ASP support the ideology underlying anti-doping at a "common sense" level (using popular drug and sporting discourses such as "drugs are bad" and sporting virtue), they are critical of anti-doping practice. Combined with no direct experience with doping, ASP saw doping as a rare event unlikely to emerge in practice. Most ASP took a laissez-faire approach to anti-doping, relying on managers to know what to do in the unlikely event of a doping incident. Despite broadly supporting the ideas of anti-doping, ASP raised concerns around implementation with regards to Athlete Whereabouts and recreational drug use. In response to hypothetical doping events, a number of ASP would seek to persuade the athlete to discontinue doping rather than meet mandatory reporting obligations. Part of this extended from conflicts between professional and anti-doping obligations (e.g. mandatory reporting and patient confidentiality). ASP demonstrate anti-doping policies are in tension with a practice that systematically normalises substance based performance enhancement early in sporting careers. Anti-doping agencies need to do more to engage with ASP as the "front line" of drug management in sport, including resolving contradictions across policies and in practice.



Sport Management Review




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