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Sports Science Sports Medicine Best Practice Principles

For the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), integrity in sport is paramount. Accordingly, the ASC has included in its High Performance Investment Principles that ASC investment is dependent on sports, athletes, coaches and support personnel demonstrating the highest possible standards of integrity in sport, including anti-doping, that will enhance the reputation of Australia internationally and provide a positive example to all Australians.

In this regard, it is important for each national sporting organisation to have in place a strong anti doping framework.  The components of such a framework may, and in some cases must, include the following measures:

  1. An anti-doping policy that conforms with the World Anti-Doping Code.
  2. An anti-doping education strategy and program developed in consultation with the.Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA).
  3. Processes for reporting required information to ASADA to facilitate athlete testing.
  4. A clear and confidential process for reporting suspected doping violations.
  5. A requirement for board members, staff, athletes and coaches to provide anti doping declarations.
  6. A  program allowing searches of athlete accommodation provided by the organisation.
  7. An illicit drugs policy.

Many of the above measures are mandated by ASADA and required under ASC funding agreements.

Sporting organisations should also have a code of conduct which binds all athletes, coaches, staff and board members and, at a minimum, requires awareness of and compliance with, the organisation’s:

  • values and goals
  • anti-doping policy
  • sports science/sports medicine (SSSM) policies.

The code of conduct should be regularly promoted within an organisation by its CEO and Director of High Performance. It should be highly visible and any breaches of the code should be enforced.

A further measure to reduce a sporting organisation’s risk of an anti-doping violation and to protect athlete well-being is the implementation and enforcement of clear processes and policies in relation to SSSM practices within the organisation.

Overview of SSSM Best Practice Principles

Monitoring and oversight of a sporting organisation’s SSSM activities are essential elements of the respective roles of the organisation’s board and senior management. In performing this function, risk management processes are critical.  Oversight of SSSM practices must form part of the organisation’s risk management process, specifically, understanding risks to the organisation and to the health of athletes and developing appropriate integrity safeguards to mitigate these risks.

These SSSM Best Practice Principles have been developed by the AIS as a practical guide to assist boards and senior management of sporting organisations in performing their oversight function in relation to SSSM practices.

The Principles can be categorised under five key areas:

  1. Staff integrity and capability
  2. SSSM policy framework
  3. Education
  4. Detection and enforcement
  5. Oversight and reporting

These SSSM Best Practice Principles are intended to operate in conjunction with, and without limitation of, the other components of an organisations’s anti-doping framework.

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