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Recreational Athlete Checklist

USADA works to protect clean sport at every level of competition. Under anti-doping rules, there are four athlete competition levels, including recreational athletes, and these competition levels impact an athlete’s anti-doping requirements when it comes to education, Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs), and other responsibilities.

Here, we’ll explain who qualifies as a recreational athlete, as well as the accompanying requirements and responsibilities.

Recreational Athlete

Men and women running in a recreational race.A recreational athlete is any athlete subject to the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing who: 

  • is not an International-Level Athlete or an athlete entered into an International Event,
  • is not a National-Level Athlete,
  • is not a Sport Participant,
  • and over whom USADA has authority to conduct results management in relation to an adverse analytical finding, an atypical finding, or other potential anti-doping rule violation.

More information about competition levels and how to determine your competition level is available here, or you may always contact USADA at athleteconnect@USADA.org. And don’t forget, your competition level is subject to change, which may impact your anti-doping responsibilities.


Once you determine if you qualify as a recreational athlete, it is important to understand your anti-doping responsibilities and the resources available to you to uphold the rules. Here is a basic outline and checklist to reference for support.

Recreational athletes are subject to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List, which outlines substances and methods that are prohibited in-competition, at all times, and in certain sports. If the medication status is prohibited or conditional, you may need a TUE.

The TUE application process is designed to balance the need to provide athletes access to critical medication while protecting the rights of clean athletes to compete on a level playing field. Your competitive level, which is subject to change, may help you determine whether you need to file a TUE or if you should fill out a TUE Pre-Check Form. Recreational athletes should submit a TUE Pre-Check Form to USADA to determine if a TUE is required. 

Dietary supplements are regulated in a post-market fashion, which means that no regulatory body approves the accuracy of the label or safety of the contents before they are sold to consumers. Check out USADA’s Supplement Connect resource to realize, recognize, and reduce your risk from supplement use.

You have a variety of rights and responsibilities during the testing process, such as the right to delay reporting to the doping control station for valid reasons and the responsibility to remain in direction observation of the Doping Control Officer once notified of your selection for testing. Visit our Clean Sport Handbook for a complete list of rights and responsibilities during testing.

There are 11 types of ADRVs, including use of a prohibited substance or method, tampering, possession, trafficking, administration, and complicity. For more information on ADRVs, check out our breakdown here.

Athletes can play a major role in protecting their own sport by reporting suspected rule violations. If you suspect someone of doping or another violation, contact the Play Clean Tip Center at 1-877-752-9253 or playclean@USADA.org. You can also text us anonymously at 87232 (“USADA”).

More Questions?

Contact the USADA Athlete Connect Team with questions at athleteconnect@USADA.org or by phone at (719) 785-2000 or toll-free at (866) 601-2632.

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