Clean Sport: Resources for PPF Athletes June 03, 2019 13:33 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. For the benefit of all Purple Patch athletes, I would like to tackle the subject of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) within our sport. It isn't the most fun topic to discuss but it is one that we must confront head on to ensure that the whole 'team' (coaches and athletes) are aligned and also have all necessary resources. I often get asked about the prevalence of PED use in professional triathlon. Between myself and the pro squad, it is seldom a topic of discussion, as I see very little value in questioning and discussing other athletes outside of the boundaries of the Purple Patch team. Our approach with the professional team is simple. We have a single discussion at the beginning of each season to ensure all are absolutely clear that any use of PEDs would result in immediate termination of the coaching relationship and that Purple Patch would be bound to report even suspicion of use to the relevant governing bodies. While I remain open to help and support any athlete, I have never had any discussions with a Purple Patch athlete about PED use outside of this clear expectation. I am as close to 100% sure as I possibly hope to be that each Purple Patch professional athlete I have coached has followed within the rules of their governing bodies, WADA, and the verbal commitment with Purple Patch. This makes it very simple, as we can then get on with aiming to improve personal performance within this framework, without getting pulled to look over the fence at the actions of other athletes that we cannot control. Is there doping in triathlon? Certainly. I think there is much more that can collectively be done to diminish it as a factor in the sport, but as coaches and athletes, we cannot allow it to distract us from our personal missions. What I get asked about doping, it is usually within the amateur ranks. This is what we will focus on today, as there is an unfortunate prevalence of PED use within amateur triathlon - some of it via direct cheating, while other situations result from the naivete of the athlete. As we explore, please realize that I outline the below to help you, the amateur athlete, as you progress through your performance journey. Let's first put a line under the position of Purple Patch coaching, as it relates to PED use: Any athlete who tests positive for PED use, or we suspect of utilizing any PED protocol (without consent of a therapeutic use exemption (TUE)) will have their coaching relationship with Purple Patch suspended with immediate effect. In other words, don't do it. It is that simple. But is it? First, we have to explore what 'it' is. As you think about PED use in our sport, there are a few things that you must be aware of: No excuses: As a competing athlete, the burden of knowledge and responsibility always falls on your shoulders. Naiveté never stands up as an excuse, so it is important you fully understand what goes in your body. Don't expect your normal doctor to know (or care): There are plenty of normal treatments and approaches of support for health which are considered absolutely normal and healthy for the general population. Unfortunately, many of these are outside the lines of what is considered fair competition. Any time you take something from a doctor or begin a treatment plan, ensure it is legal and ethical. This is a massive reason I like having resources to ethical and sports-minded doctors, as they 'play' inside the lines, but are also aware of the boundaries drawn out for all athletes Vitamin T is not the same as Vitamin D: Related to the above, there is a real emergence of the prescription of testosterone and growth hormone for men and women typically moving into their 50s. Be careful, while some may refer to it as vitamin T, if you follow your doctor's order, you are doping. Don't do it. The use of TUEs: If you have a legitimate health consideration that requires treatment utilizing a banned substance, then it is very possible you can gain a 'therapeutic use exemption' (TUE). If your health concern is real, there is nothing wrong with following this route but there has been a highly publicized spate of media around the exploitation of TUEs over the last few years. I urge you to only follow this route if you genuinely require medical support and there are no options left. They are not there to 'gain an edge' but to help a person regain health and no more. Remember why you do this: I struggle to think of many things that are more ridiculous than deliberately doping within amateur sports. I appreciate and understand the human condition but like the athlete who I caught cutting the course many years ago, it does nothing but leave me with a mixture of bemusement and despair. There is nothing better or more rewarding than going on a path of self-improvement. Embrace this part of participation within sport and don't pollute the journey with something so ridiculous as cheating. We are here for you: If you are ever confused about your best path, then we are here for you. We are going on this journey with you and want to see you excel. Please don't hesitate to reach out and ask for support or guidance. Listed below are a few links for further investigation. Under the anti-doping rules, all athletes are required to inform their athlete support personnel of their obligations under the anti-doping rules. If there are any questions, it is the athlete's responsibility to work with their national anti-doping agency. Dixon's take. Think of it like this: you don't know all of the regulatory bodies governing your doctor just like he or she doesn't know all the anti-doping rules for triathlon (much less any other sports in their patient population). It is incumbent upon you to inform your doctor of the anti-doping rules. The next positive drug test that gets overturned because an athlete blamed the doctor will be the first. Keep them in the loop. Visit WADA's website and review the List of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods. Dixon's take. You should check this list every year. Even if a particular medication isn't banned this year does not guarantee that it won't be in the future. Just like a rules violation on the course, ignorance of the law is no defense. The Global Drug Reference Online provides athletes and support personnel with information about the prohibited status of specific medications based on WADA's prohibited list. Dixon's take. This site is really helpful because it covers products sold in multiple countries from the US and UK to Australia and Japan. Do your homework! The rules. Here are links to the World Anti-Doping Code, the IRONMAN Anti-Doping Rules and the ITU Anti-Doping Rules. Dixon's take. Read widely, read wisely. If you plan to use a prohibited substance for a legitimate reason, you must get a TUE. In most cases, IRONMAN or ITU expect age groupers to get their TUE from their National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) or Regional Anti-Doping Organization (RADO). Dixon's take. Start with your national governing body and they'll guide you in the right direction. Here's a quick link. Age groupers are subject to testing - both in and out of competition. Watch this video and get familiar with the Doping Control Process and your rights and responsibilities. Dixon's take. Just because you're an amateur, don't assume you won't be tested. Even dietary supplements can be risky. Educate yourself and follow the rules!