n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Knowledge and perceptions of elite South African athletes on doping and doping control, 1998 v. 2002 : original research article




<I>Objective :&lt;/I&gt; To ascertain the knowledge, awareness and perceptions of elite South African sportspersons chosen for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 with regard to doping, doping control, and the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS). The study also sought to assess the changes in such parameters that may have occurred since the previous survey of 1998, conducted at the Kuala Lumpur Games. <br><I>Design :&lt;/I&gt; The study was a questionnaire survey, administered to members of the South African team participating in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The questionnaire was based on the United States National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Questionnaire. <br><I>Analysis :&lt;/I&gt; The study is a descriptive study, with small sample size and response categories limiting the usefulness of statistical analysis. <br><I>Results :&lt;/I&gt; The study revealed that more sportspersons were aware of the existence of SAIDS in 2002 than in 1998, with an increased number of athletes sourcing information from SAIDS (28% v. 7%). There was, however, no difference in knowledge between the groups with regard to the International Olympic classification of prohibited substances. Eighty-three per cent of athletes in the current study were of the opinion that doping control does serve as a useful deterrent, compared with 68% in the previous study. However athletes reported a significant increase in usage of amphetamines, ephedrine and marijuana compared with 1998. The majority of respondents denied use of prohibited drugs to enhance performance, largely because of a concern about their negative health effects. <br><I>Conclusions :&lt;/I&gt; The advocacy, education and doping control programmes of SAIDS have noticeably increased from 1997 to the present. It is reasonable to infer that this has played a role in influencing attitudes and behaviour, as noted in the results of this survey.


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