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Senate establishes inquiry into sports science

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 16 May 2013

The Australian Senate today voted in favour of a motion from Greens Senator, Dr Richard Di Natale, to establish an inquiry into sports science.

"The recent doping saga has thrown a light onto the role of sports science in Australian sport, which has exposed some very concerning practices," said Senator Di Natale, Greens spokesperson on health and a former VFA footballer.

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

"I moved this 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 in order to protect our athletes and players from being used as guinea pigs in a race to find the winning edge.

"Australia has some of the world's best sports scientists and their reputations also need to be protected. 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.

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

The text of the motion that was voted for in the Senate is as follows:

That the following matter be referred to the Rural Affairs and Transport Committee for inquiry and report by 27 June 2013:
The practice of sports science in Australia with regard to:
a) The current scope of practice, 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, and the ethical obligations of sports scientists in relation to protecting and promoting the spirit of sport;
d) avenues for reform or enhanced regulation of the profession;
e) any other related matter.

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