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Greens secure Senate Inquiry into sports science

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 2 May 2013

Australian Greens spokesperson for sport and health, Senator Richard Di Natale, announced today that he has secured support for a Senate Inquiry into the issue of sports science.

“The ‘whatever it takes’ mentality of Australian sport should not come at the cost of compromising the health of our athletes,” said Dr Di Natale.

“The focus of the current doping scandal has been on whether substances are in breach of the WADA code, but there is a bigger issue at stake here.

“As a doctor I’m really very concerned about potential health impacts of some of the drugs and supplements that have been reportedly used. Using drugs that aren’t yet approved for human use, or prescription medications for purposes they weren’t designed for, is dangerous.

“Its tempting to blame individual players but an 18 year old kid from the country recruited to an AFL club would find it very hard to refuse a supplement program that was sanctioned by their club and involved their team mates.

“Part of the problem is that there aren’t accredited standards around who can call themselves a sports scientist and what sorts of code of conduct they should be operating under. Australia has some of the world’s best sports scientists and their reputations also need to be protected.

“I have secured a Senate Inquiry into the issue of sports science because we need to work out what sorts of safeguards and governance structures need to be in place to make sure that players are never again being used as guinea pigs in a sports science arms-race.

“The inquiry will welcome submissions from sports scientists, players, athletes, club doctors and administrators.”

The terms of reference are:
a. The current scope of practice, (this includes definition, function and operation) and accreditation and regulation arrangements, for the profession;
b. the role of Boards and Management in the oversight of sports scientists inside sporting organisations;
c. the duty of care of sports scientists to athletes.
d. avenues for reform or enhanced regulation of the profession
e. any other related matter

Media Contact:         Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600

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