Sports medicine physicians, certified personal trainers and other health professionals must live up to stringent anti-doping expectations according to “principles of ethical behavior” announced today by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
The initiative takes a strong ethical stand against doping, particularly as it relates to interaction, use, or prescription among ACSM members. ACSM and USADA will begin a second phase of the program to establish a national coalition with other organizations and sports governing bodies to adopt these ethical standards. A planned third phase will encourage licensing boards and other certifying organizations to include anti-doping rules.
”Integrity is among the supreme values for athletes and for those who train and treat them or sanction athletic events,” said Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, president of ACSM. “With this statement of principles, ACSM members are pledging to uphold the integrity of their practice with athletes and, in doing so, support the integrity of athletics as a whole. We consider the adoption of these principles to be a big step and we look forward to a continued and fruitful partnership with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.”
“In its mission, the United States Anti-Doping Agency acknowledges the importance of ensuring the health of athletes as well as preserving the well-being and integrity of sport,” said Ralph W. Hale, M.D., chair of the USADA Board of Directors. “Every athlete is responsible under the anti-doping rules for any violation involving his or her use of a prohibited substance or method and can be sanctioned accordingly. Those who advise them or assist with any unethical practices must also be held accountable. We welcome the ACSM’s commitment to ensuring that its members, the sports medicine and exercise science professionals who fulfill important roles in the care and training of athletes, adhere to the highest professional standards.”
The statement of principles of ethical behavior for ACSM members reads:
Members and affiliates of the American College of Sports Medicine are committed to the highest standards of conduct. As advocates for athletes’ health and performance, all ACSM members assume an obligation to train, treat and support athletes with the highest ethical standards. Avoiding inappropriate treatment of athletes as well as the appearance of inappropriate treatment is of the utmost importance. I hereby affirm:
- I will treat or train athletes with the objective of maintaining the integrity of competition and fair play.
- I will treat or train every athlete with the utmost care and to the highest level of my professional competence.
- I acknowledge that I am aware of international doping control standards as determined by the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods published by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
- I will treat athletes only as their medical conditions warrant and will observe the rules of the appropriate anti-doping organizations regarding use of prohibited substances or methods.
- I will not advise, aid, or abet any athlete to use prohibited substances or methods of doping.
- I will use all means possible to deter doping by athletes I am treating or training.
- I will maintain confidentiality of personal medical information and will protect the right of the clean athlete to compete.
- I agree that departure from these principles of ethical behavior in treating athletes may result in sanctions by ACSM and will accept those sanctions as determined.
“Up to now the emphasis has been on athletes, and often on detection and sanctions for doping rather than prevention,” said Gary I. Wadler, M.D., FACSM, an expert in doping and steroid use in sports. “Now we’re working to directly involve the professionals who work with the athletes, emphasizing their professional education and responsibilities.”
Other organizations commit to anti-doping statement
More than a dozen other organizations have endorsed a brief statement committing them to the principles of drug-free sport. (See separate list of endorsing organizations.) In coming weeks, ACSM and USADA will invite endorsement by scores of organizations involved in medicine, sports governance and sanctioning, health, fitness and other fields
“It’s gratifying to see so many front-line organizations sign on unequivocally to oppose doping,” said Sallis. “This underscores the importance of integrity, fair competition and medically sound practices in sport.”
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 20,000 international, national, and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement. USADA is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.
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