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SSSM policy framework

Principle 2: Sporting organisations should implement, periodically review and enforce a robust SSSM policy framework, including the following SSSM policies:

  1. Supplementation policy (including a Supplementation Panel and Supplementation Provision Protocol)
  2. Medication policy
  3. Injection policy

Commentary and guidance

The SSSM policies should require any new SSSM procedures and practices to be subject to peer review utilising a panel of experts and/or an ethics panel.

Supplementation Policy

Athletes are vulnerable to inadvertent anti-doping rule violations if they obtain supplements from their own sources.

Sporting organisations should have a written Supplementation Policy, incorporating a Supplementation Provision Protocol approved by the organisation’s Supplementation Panel, which governs the use of supplements by athletes. The AIS has in place best practice protocols for each supplement which, combined with the publicly available AIS Supplementation Group Classification System, delivers world’s best practice for the use of sports supplements.  Sports may wish to utilise these publicly available AIS resources when developing their own approach.

Sporting organisations, within the parameters of the Supplement Provision Protocol approved by their Supplementation Panel, should wherever possible provide appropriate supplements to their athletes, to remove any requirement for athletes to obtain supplements from other sources.

Athletes should not be permitted to obtain supplements from sources external to their sporting organisation, without first receiving written permission to do so from their Supplementation Panel.

The Supplementation Provision Protocol should be overseen by a Supplementation Panel of at least three appropriately-qualified stakeholders including medical staff, sports nutrition staff, sports science staff, coaching and conditioning staff.  The organisation’s Supplementation Panel should have at least one independent member, and seek guidance where appropriate from the AIS Supplementation Panel.

The Supplementation Provision Protocol should:

  • utilise the AIS Supplement Group Classification System
  • permit the use of all supplements in Group A and Group B of the AIS Supplement Group Classification System
  • permit limited use of supplements in Group C of the AIS Supplement Group Classification System where there is specific approval from the organisation’s Supplementation Panel
  • prohibit the use of all supplements in Group D of the AIS Supplement Group Classification System
  • be based on the core principles of:
    • athlete safety
    • evidence-based science
    • compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List
  • be agreed upon after careful consideration by the organisation’s Supplementation Panel
  • not be altered except by agreement with the organisation’s Supplementation Panel;
    • draw on external supplementation or anti-doping expertise, where there is any doubt about the capacity of the organisation to deliver such a protocol
  • be applied consistently, regardless of personnel changes within the coaching, nutrition, science, medical or strength and conditioning staff.

Medication Policy

Athletes frequently require medication for the treatment of illness or injury. Such medications may include prescription medication or over-the-counter medication.

Sporting organisations should have a written Medication Policy, approved by the organisation’s advising medical practitioner, which governs the use of prescription and over-the-counter medication by athletes.

The Medication Policy should:

  • require athletes to only use medication as directed by the organisation's medical practitioner
  • require athletes to report to the organisation's medical practitioner when they have obtained or used medication from sources other than the organisation's medical practitioner
  • include appropriate protocols for the use of anti-inflammatory, pain relieving and sleep inducing medications
  • include appropriate protocols for handling or provision of medication by personnel other than the medical practitioner (physiotherapist, sports scientist, strength and conditioning coach etc), in the absence of the medical practitioner.

Injection Policy

There is no role for injection of substances as a routine part of any supplementation program.

Sporting organisations should have a written Injection Policy which prohibits athletes self injecting and prohibits individuals other than a medical practitioner administering injections to an athlete. Such a policy should specifically prohibit any unauthorised individual from being in possession of hypodermic needles.

No substances should be injected into athletes except where the treatment of a documented medical condition requires such injection.

No injectable substances should be administered to an athlete by any individual other than a qualified medical practitioner. An exception to this rule may be made where the athlete has a well-documented medical condition (e.g. diabetes, anaphylaxis-risk), in which case the medical practitioner may provide written permission for the athlete to self inject within specific parameters.

A register should be kept of any athletes in the organisation who have permission to self inject for medical purposes.

Athletes may be provided with written permission to possess needles for medical reasons, as outlined above.

The Injection Policy forbidding possession of needles would not include acupuncture needles. Acupuncture needles are solid needles used for treatment of soft tissue injuries. They are not used for injection of substances.

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