In its ongoing efforts to stamp out drugs in sport, The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport has launched a mobisite and an innovative iPhone app, giving SA’s 5,000+ professional athletes as well as doctors, access to the most updated drug information, to help ensure banned substances are not consumed by athletes.
This is according to SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport’s CEO, Khalid Galant, who says that SA is one one of the early movers in term of developing and implementing an education tool of this kind. “The Swiss and German anti-doping agencies also launched their versions of apps this month and we are the third anti-doping agency world-wide to do one. ”
Galant says that consumer research has shown the increased use of "smart phones" to access web based information.
“The creation of this application is in response to the shift in how people retrieve information in order to better make the anti-doping education material accessible to an even wider audience,” he adds. “Those that don’t have iPhones can access the info via the new Drug-Free Sport mobisite. We will monitor how these audiences utilise the tool and will look at extending the app to include Blackberry, Android etc. in the future. ”
“The app also provides us with a channel to communicate other anti-doping information to the users and a feature in the app titled "news" allows us to post current articles and issues on doping,” he adds.
New iPhone app a 'tool for the fight against doping'
Galant is hoping that the app will be another tool in the fight against drugs in sport and says that this will be a new channel of communication to athletes/coaches and doctors. With the constant flow of new prescription drugs into the market, Galant says that it is important that doctors and athletes have the most up to date information available at their fingertips.
“The app will benefit our athletes, who can download the app for free and get quick access to the list of banned and permitted substances in sport, while medical doctors who treat athletes will be able to use the app to ascertain whether the drugs they wish to prescribe to their patients are banned or permitted,” he adds.
“Now they can check the status of medication anytime, anywhere and can see, at the touch of a button, which drugs are approved and which ones are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
“For athletes concerned with testing positive as the result of taking prescribed medications, it is important for them to understand that strict liability applies and that if they choose to take banned substances, they do so at their own risk.”
App will let athletes check banned substances
Galant stresses the fact that the athlete is liable for any banned substances found in the body. “The mobile app enables them to check whether medicines that are prescribed to them are banned or permitted thereby reducing their doping risk,” he says.
The drugs are listed according to their brand names as dispensed in South Africa and the app comprises an easily accessible list of banned and allowed medications, with over 3,260 medications listed. The app also gives them the option of filtering their search by: prohibited at all times, prohibited in-competition, prohibited in certain sports, and prohibited in males.
Galant says that The Prohibited List is updated annually following an extensive international consultation process facilitated by WADA.
“For the last couple of years we have made this information available in a booklet format and on our website,” he says. “Our athletes appear to be early adopters of new technology and have overwhelmingly embraced the online administration of their anti-doping information over the past two years. Therefore I am confident they will quickly adopt our iPhone app as their primary resource to determine whether a drug is banned or permitted in sport.”
We developed the Drug-Free Sport iPhone app as a tool that has been discussed in our international best practises forums over the past year as another channel through which to communicate with our athletes and sports medical personnel.
With regard to other educational awareness initiatives, the Drug Free Sport recently launched its ‘I Play Fair – Say NO! To Doping’ initiative, aimed at tackling doping in sport; and spreading the message of ethics, fair-play and anti-doping in sport which coincided with the release of shocking statistics that reflect a 100% increase in doping offences in sport.
“With this new tool, athletes can stay up-to-date and informed in order to compete fair and be proud to say ‘I Play Fair’,” Galant concludes.
The application is free, and can be downloaded from the iTunes store by clicking here. To access the mobisite go to http://m.drugfreesport.org.za
(Press release, August 2011)