USADA Steroid Rule: Amateur Athletes Competition

Steroid use within sporting events has always captured the attention of the media across the nation--and the world. While banning all prescription steroid use helps keep the game fair, it can also keep athletes out of the game entirely. 

The mission of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) looks to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of U.S. athletes; a noble and valuable mission. But what about those athletes who need prescription steroids for a health condition? After many years of consideration, the USADA has changed their stance on the matter. 

Called the Recreational Competitor Therapeutic Use Exemption, the new rule allows master and amateur athletes to compete in low-level competitions while taking banned substances. In order to do so, the athlete must prove to the USADA that the individual actually has a medical need for the banned substance. Additionally, he or she must also prove that they are unlikely to win one of the amateur races. 

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, the USADA said, "Out of fairness to those non-competitve athletes, we put in place a process that allows for them to compete while still requiring a fair and reasonable review of each recreational athlete's medical situation." 

Testosterone is the most commonly-used, well-known doping chemical in sports history, as it can boost muscle mass and improves recovery. However, there are men who have low testosterone levels and other conditions--such as Parkinson's disease--that require testosterone steroids for medical use. In men with naturally low levels, supplemental testosterone would, theoretically, provide no advantage over other competitors. But, until now, any steroid use for any reason has meant no game for competitors. 

Many athletes have felt that this is an unfair stance since using doctor-prescribed steroids is for medical reasons, not to boost the possibility of winning a competition. Lawyer Howard Jacobs, who represents high-profile athletes accused of doping, sees this new rule as a compromise. 

This means good news to all those athletes with a medical condition that requires steroid treatment! Now, instead of having to choose health over competition, athletes have an option to potentially have both. 

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Written by PRS Team — May 19, 2016


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