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How Can Athlete Support Personnel Help Athletes with Anti-Doping Responsibilities?

Athlete and coach talking.Athletes are rarely alone in their athletic journeys. For most athletes, there’s a wide range of Athlete Support Personnel (ASP) who work alongside them to ensure they are making informed decisions regarding their health and performance, both on and off the field. These dedicated professionals are instrumental in helping athletes maintain their reputation and navigate their sport responsibilities, which include anti-doping.

Under the World Anti-Doping Agency Code (the Code), ASP are also subject to rules, which is why it remains important that ASP know how best they can protect themselves and support athletes. Continue reading to learn about the roles and responsibilities that ASP have when it comes to clean sport.

1. Who is an ASP?

According to the Code, Athlete Support Personnel, or ASP, refers to any coach, trainer, manager, agent, team staff, official, medical, paramedical personnel, parent, or any other person working with, treating, or assisting an athlete participating in or preparing for sports competition.

2. What role do ASP play in anti-doping?

Since ASP are bound by the Code in the same way as athletes, they are also subject to receiving Anti-Doping Rule Violations, such as trafficking and tampering violations. As role models and trusted mentors, ASP must also be knowledgeable of and compliant with all anti-doping policies and rules, as well as work to foster the values of clean sport and encourage athletes to uphold their anti-doping responsibilities. For example, ASP may be asked to provide guidance on supplements and should be able to help athletes understand and minimize the potential risks associated with supplements.

3. What is the role of ASP during the sample collection process?

Athletes have the right to a representative during the sample collection process. For example, an ASP could act as an athlete representative during urine collection in the doping control station. While they will not witness the passing of the sample, they will observe the Doping Control Officer, or DCO, as they oversee the sample collection.

In addition, a representative encourages an athlete to ask questions and advocate for themselves when necessary. Having a representative present during sample collection can help an athlete feel safer and more comfortable during the process.

4. Can an ASP assist in providing modifications during the sample collection process?

Yes! Athletes with impairments, injuries, or disabilities may always be accompanied by an athlete representative. The representative may read the doping control form and if requested by the athlete, handle the sample collection equipment and sign the doping control form on their behalf. ASP and athletes should discuss the level of desired involvement during the doping control process, in the event an athlete is selected for testing.

Overall, the role of ASP in anti-doping is to empower athletes with knowledge, advocate for their rights, and encourage them to make decisions that uphold clean sport.

More questions?

For a deeper look at anti-doping rules and responsibilities, please review the Clean Sport Handbook or contact our team at education@USADA.org.

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