Gavin Henson Accuses Welsh Players of Doping

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Post by yappysnap on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 12:02 am

It's Stuff.nz so take it with a pinch of salt, but bold claims by Henson...

Welsh star Gavin Henson believes rugby dopers should be jailed and claims he has witnessed irregularities amongst team mates.

Henson also believes an investigation should have been held over former Wales coach Warren Gatland's supposed suspicions about a player during his time in charge of the Red Dragons.

Henson, 38, has stepped away from the professional game but hasn't been afraid to air some candid views on the controversial subject of performance enhancing drugs.

"I've been in an environment where the drug testers come in and there's one or two boys who run out," Henson, who played for clubs in Wales, England and France, told WalesOnline.

"That's happened at professional level.


"How it is acceptable, I don't know, but as a player you can't do anything about it.

"Yeah, of course it made me angry. Boys are cheating and those kind of things give you such an advantage. There are boys who have had careers on the back of taking stuff that has cost other players international places, or even club team places, which is really lucrative."

Henson, who played 33 tests for Wales and toured New Zealand in 2005 with the British & Irish Lions, believes tougher measures need to be put in place for drug cheats.

"For me, I feel the rule that should be in place is if you get caught taking drugs it should be a jail sentence, because you are stealing a living. You are taking money from someone else," he told WalesOnline.

"One or two boys were quite open and honest about it but there's no proof.

"There was always changing room talk but unless you are a doctor or something you can't prove it."

"For a coach to say what Gatland did, I felt like there should be an investigation, but there we go."

Gatland's comments came in a media interview late last year as he stepped away from the Wales job after 12 years in charge.

Gatland had a subsequent meeting with Welsh rugby authorities who were satisfied there was nothing sinister in Gatland's off the cuff remarks during an interview.

"We've spoken to Warren to understand his comments in their entirety and we are satisfied with the clarity he provided," The WRU said after that meeting.

"All appropriate anti-doping protocols and rigorous procedures are in place in Welsh rugby and the WRU are proactive in the delivery of this.

Looks like the WRU have some questions to answer.

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Post by RiscaGame on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 12:59 am

Or he could be on about a club environment, he played in. He didn’t say International. Just because he mentions Gatland’s comment, doesn’t mean it it was connected, per se.

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Post by yappysnap on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 1:04 am

True true but it's more likely about the Int game at least in regards to Gatlands comments isn't it? I imagine there are drug issues in plenty of clubs in all countries.

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Post by RiscaGame on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 1:17 am

I can think of one player involved with Wales, near his time. But he maybe wasn’t in many Wales squads with him?

I would love to see proven cheaters get lifetime bans from rugby and not jail mind.

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Post by yappysnap on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 1:32 am

Yea jail seems way OTT and out of kilter with the offence (not to mention a waste of police time and space in the already over taxed jail service), but fines, lifetime bans and handing back trophies should all occur if necessary.

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Post by Khouli Khan on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 6:36 am

yappysnap wrote:Yea jail seems way OTT and out of kilter with the offence (not to mention a waste of police time and space in the already over taxed jail service), but fines, lifetime bans and handing back trophies should all occur if necessary.

I don't disagree with draconian punishments, but suggesting that Saracens should be similarly punished with regards to trophies won for systematic cheating is normally met with derision here.

So what's different?

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:21 am

Interesting.  Very interesting.

The more people like Henson speak up or out, the less rugby autorities can run for cover behind the usual stance of 'anti-doping protocols' and 'rigorous procedures'.

It's happening.  None of us that believe it's happening can prove anything of course, but that won't change the belief that we are looking at some (not all) - some players, club and/or International, that either get extra muscle growth from exotic chemicals; - or more important to me, as I believe they are more sophisticated and less easily detectable, substances or procedures that aid energy levels and increase endurance - considered essential components that give an edge through a modern 80 minutes of high tempo rugby

Not all that we are seeing is players naturally just getting bigger, stronger, faster and lasting longer - all at the same time in certain players.

So thank you, Mr Henson.  Alone he won't do much but he might coax other players, active or retired, to loosen their tongues as well.

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Post by TightHEAD on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:25 am

Take all their titles away and relegate them 2nd tier of Europe.

Fed up with cheating in sport. mad

Even Fury's gloves look dodgy. boxing
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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:28 am

Next thing you know Andy Powell will accuse them of drinking

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Post by lostinwales on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:29 am

Funny how it is only cheating when the other side are doing it.

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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:31 am

lostinwales wrote:Funny how it is only cheating when the other side are doing it.


Trying to suggest that Henson wasn't a team player for Wales?

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Post by Khouli Khan on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:32 am

Gooseberry wrote:Next thing you know Andy Powell will accuse them of drinking

Drunk or doped up, it would have been hard to tell with Andy Powell.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:36 am

TightHEAD wrote:Take all their titles away and relegate them 2nd tier of Europe.

Fed up with cheating in sport. mad

Even Fury's gloves look dodgy. boxing

Wilder's legs looked dodgy! Heavyweight boxer dancing around on boney sticks? Weird.

Anyhow, he needs to talk to a few rugby players before he starts training for his next bout.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:38 am

lostinwales wrote:Funny how it is only cheating when the other side are doing it.

How'd'ya come to that conclusion from this here thread so far?

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Post by Pete330v2 on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:45 am

I'd say Wales isn't the only 'home nation' to have a level of this going on.
From what Henson said about players running when the drug testers come in I'd have assumed they were running because of the more recreational kind of drugs, not the performance enhancing sort. A few lines on a drunken Saturday night out with the lads when the wit's out would leave you a bit worried if the testers appeared that week.

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Post by lostinwales on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:56 am

SecretFly wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Funny how it is only cheating when the other side are doing it.

How'd'ya come to that conclusion from this here thread so far?

It is a dumb comment in this context. Maybe I should just have made a comment about glass houses and stones.

Doping is going to be a problem for every side, even if it has been more ingrained in the culture of some countries. There is an article on the Beeb this week about doping and SA schoolboys for instance.

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Post by Khouli Khan on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 10:05 am

Pete330v2 wrote:I'd say Wales isn't the only 'home nation' to have a level of this going on.
From what Henson said about players running when the drug testers come in I'd have assumed they were running because of the more recreational kind of drugs, not the performance enhancing sort. A few lines on a drunken Saturday night out with the lads when the wit's out would leave you a bit worried if the testers appeared that week.

I'd seriously doubt that any more than a small minority of professional players were willing to risk their careers by engaging in any kind of drug taking (other than booze) with the level of testing nowadays.

Performance enhancing drugs on the other hand, can be 'prescribed' by team medical staff - and some are pretty innocuous (inhalers for example - which contain steroids). I think that Henson was mainly on about things like Anabolic Steroids and the like wasn't he?

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 10:21 am

lostinwales wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Funny how it is only cheating when the other side are doing it.

How'd'ya come to that conclusion from this here thread so far?

It is a dumb comment in this context. Maybe I should just have made a comment about glass houses and stones.

Doping is going to be a problem for every side, even if it has been more ingrained in the culture of some countries. There is an article on the Beeb this week about doping and SA schoolboys for instance.

Yes.  But that is actually a good analogy you choose about the glass houses and stones.

I actually think that in this regard people in glass houses have to throw stones.  And I suppose when you think about it, that's what Henson is doing; suggesting his own clubs or National side wasn't fully clean (in his opinion).  

Doping, at whatever level and by however many players, will be an issue for many sides, clubs, International sides.  And yep, it would be a foolish man indeed who claimed his club/Nation was pristine both historically and in the present, whilst pointing an accusing finger at another specified side.  That kinda stuff comes back to bite you in the ass usually.  

So it's a universal cloak of suspicion.  There is doping about and despite the protests of administrators, nope, it's not all being caught or even detectable.  It's always one step ahead of the testers and their methods for players who want to feel the extra edge.

I will say this though, unfortunately some of the more modern methods of getting an edge have the complexity and sophistication that would necessitate team complicity if individual players were ever unearthed.  So that's the extra wheel of intrigue that this subject brings up.  There will be rogue players who operate as lone wolves in doping but evidence from the past would suggest the need for team complicity/direction of more sophisticated blood doctoring techniques. That activity asks for military precision throughout a year.

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Post by lostinwales on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 10:29 am

Khouli Khan wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:I'd say Wales isn't the only 'home nation' to have a level of this going on.
From what Henson said about players running when the drug testers come in I'd have assumed they were running because of the more recreational kind of drugs, not the performance enhancing sort. A few lines on a drunken Saturday night out with the lads when the wit's out would leave you a bit worried if the testers appeared that week.

I'd seriously doubt that any more than a small minority of professional players were willing to risk their careers by engaging in any kind of drug taking (other than booze) with the level of testing nowadays.

Performance enhancing drugs on the other hand, can be 'prescribed' by team medical staff - and some are pretty innocuous (inhalers for example - which contain steroids). I think that Henson was mainly on about things like Anabolic Steroids and the like wasn't he?

Its a difficult balance and to be honest if its not performance enhancing or causing long term damage it feels intrusive to test players for what they do in their private time. Matt Stevens of course comes to mind, although in his case it does seem that it was going too far. These players are causing a great deal of damage to their bodies and getting over it isn't easy.

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Post by Comfort on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 11:43 am

This is Gav we're talking about, we sure he wasn't just on about players being dopey? Smile

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 11:52 am

Comfort wrote:This is Gav we're talking about, we sure he wasn't just on about players being dopey? Smile

Nah. He wouldn't have been able to pick up on that variety.

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Post by chris_501 on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 11:57 am

lostinwales wrote:
Khouli Khan wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:I'd say Wales isn't the only 'home nation' to have a level of this going on.
From what Henson said about players running when the drug testers come in I'd have assumed they were running because of the more recreational kind of drugs, not the performance enhancing sort. A few lines on a drunken Saturday night out with the lads when the wit's out would leave you a bit worried if the testers appeared that week.

I'd seriously doubt that any more than a small minority of professional players were willing to risk their careers by engaging in any kind of drug taking (other than booze) with the level of testing nowadays.

Performance enhancing drugs on the other hand, can be 'prescribed' by team medical staff - and some are pretty innocuous (inhalers for example - which contain steroids). I think that Henson was mainly on about things like Anabolic Steroids and the like wasn't he?

Its a difficult balance and to be honest if its not performance enhancing or causing long term damage it feels intrusive to test players for what they do in their private time. Matt Stevens of course comes to mind, although in his case it does seem that it was going too far. These players are causing a great deal of damage to their bodies and getting over it isn't easy.

Is it not illegal activity however?

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Post by TightHEAD on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 12:01 pm

Gavlaaaar.........Pub landlord.

tough business to go into.
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Post by Khouli Khan on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 12:23 pm

chris_501 wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
Khouli Khan wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:I'd say Wales isn't the only 'home nation' to have a level of this going on.
From what Henson said about players running when the drug testers come in I'd have assumed they were running because of the more recreational kind of drugs, not the performance enhancing sort. A few lines on a drunken Saturday night out with the lads when the wit's out would leave you a bit worried if the testers appeared that week.

I'd seriously doubt that any more than a small minority of professional players were willing to risk their careers by engaging in any kind of drug taking (other than booze) with the level of testing nowadays.

Performance enhancing drugs on the other hand, can be 'prescribed' by team medical staff - and some are pretty innocuous (inhalers for example - which contain steroids). I think that Henson was mainly on about things like Anabolic Steroids and the like wasn't he?

Its a difficult balance and to be honest if its not performance enhancing or causing long term damage it feels intrusive to test players for what they do in their private time. Matt Stevens of course comes to mind, although in his case it does seem that it was going too far. These players are causing a great deal of damage to their bodies and getting over it isn't easy.

Is it not illegal activity however?

It is illegal to supply, and to be in possession of - but, if you're at a party and somebody gets the Charlie out and you have a sniff, IIRC, you haven't done anything wrong. Only the supplier and the owner are at risk.

However, abusing controlled drugs isn't good from a PR kind of thing, and any player caught doing it could probably wave their career goodbye.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 12:58 pm

Anyway. Don't think Gav was referring either to recreational drugs or indeed legal drugs (used by asthmatics for example); - something that has the potential to be also abused btw.

Nope, he was talking about stuff that might hinder the career pathway of a player that didn't take such stuff - performance enhancing stuff

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Post by dummy_half on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 1:00 pm

The BBC article about the SA schoolboys and Craven Week was interesting - boys trying to bulk up so as to impress the watching pro scouts and get the opportunity of a pro contract. I wouldn't be surprised if there was quite a bit of similar doping going on in the UK, and of course young Chalmers case was precisely this.

If I recall correctly, there has been a cluster of positive cases for anabolic steroids in mid to high level club rugby in south Wales, but this is more that the steroids are part of the local gym culture than being taken for rugby reasons.

I also recall rumours from while I was playing at University level about certain club sides back in the 90s using all sorts of questionable stuff (e.g. vetinary grade steroids). I wouldn't imagine things have changed very much.

I would be entirely unsurprised by a major doping scandal in rugby - the benefits of anabolic steroids are so obvious and the testing doesn't appear to be overly rigorous, but so far the top level of the game has only had occasional and individual (rather than systematic team-wide) cases.

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Post by king_carlos on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 4:23 pm

Icarus is an interesting documentary about doping. Starts with Bryan Fogle enlisting Grigory Rodchenkov (then director of Russia's antidoping lab...) for help with how to take PEDs whilst evading detection of tests. The story takes a massive dogleg as the documentary is filmed at the same time as the state funded Russian doping scandal coming to light. Very interesting watch though.

A lot of people have justified queries about how effective tests are in detecting PED use. The fight of anti doping agencies trying to detect PED use and drug companies trying to produce PEDs that evade detection and stay ahead of tests is effectively a pharmaceutical race. In pharmaceutical races the better funded side always wins.

Funding the drug companies producing the drugs you effectively have every athlete, sporting organisation and as seen in the Russia scandal even governments that wish to evade detection.

Funding anti doping agencies you only have limited money being put in by governing bodies and in larger organisations governments themselves. For instance WADA is funded by government contributions and the Olympic Movement. The Olympic Movement only make payments when governments do though, matching them pound for pound.

Anti doping agencies have limited funding given the huge number of athletes along with regional and national teams that stand to gain by evading them.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 4:55 pm

yappysnap wrote:

Looks like the WRU have some questions to answer.

Could have been Saracens, Bath, Toulon or on the Lions tour just as much as it could be a WRU issue

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Post by Brendan on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 11:37 am

The problem players have is they put their trust in the team doctor.  East German athletes, Cycling and maybe soccer have had people be injected with "legal drugs" and the person knows if they say no they can say goodbye to their team.

I knew a college student who took a break from American football for a period of time so wasn't tested.  He took body builder substances but were banned for players but were legal for your average citizen.  Stopped them exactly when he needed to do they wouldn't be in his system when he got tested on the first

At what age do we consider to early to test.  If a child gets a major advantage at 14 to get into the higher system it probably has a bigger impact than at 18 year old looking to be a professional.

Surely there is a drug confidential line that players/coaches/doctors can call if the suspect a player.   Henson could have sent a tip but chose not to.  A player with great talent who may look back on his career with disappointment while he sees play X with a better legacy.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 12:10 pm

Brendan wrote:

Surely there is a drug confidential line that players/coaches/doctors can call if the suspect a player.   Henson could have sent a tip but chose not to.  A player with great talent who may look back on his career with disappointment while he sees play X with a better legacy.

Maybe Henson is suggesting the culture of Omertà both allows players to manipulate their year whilst dabbling in 'stuff' ..... potential complicity from coaches and/or docs? (it's happened before in big biz sport AND rugby so no eyebrows-raising response from the masses please)......
..... and Omertà possibly prompts players who want a career and don't want to be regarded as 'the enemy within' to stay silent.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 2:11 pm

Excuse my lack of knowledge of drugs etc - ive always been a clean trainer...

But where does Creatine come in this regards. I know its not a steroid and a natural producing substance. But was just curious if it was allowed?

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Post by The Oracle on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 2:20 pm

Yes, creatine is allowed.
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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 2:28 pm

Cheers Oracle

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Post by The Oracle on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 3:02 pm

I've read that lots of coaches and organisations want it banned though. It's a tricky one because it is something that you can get from food and something which the body produces naturally too. Plus, lots of inconclusive research on the effectiveness of creatine supplementation. I guess it's a bit like protein - technically if you are using protein supplements, and these are leading to increases in muscular size, which in turn leads to increases in strength, then surely that's performance enhancing. And if an opponent is not doing it then is that an unfair advantage? But on the other side, protein is an essential macronutrient that we have to have in our diets. How can you therefore make it illegal? Welcome to the murky world of supplementation!
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Post by Brendan on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 10:11 pm

When living in Vegas a high school American football player died from deyhration that they traced back to creatine and red bull. It was about 40-42 degrees and the kid had 3 red bulls. They said that the creatine soaks up water and so had reduced what his body could take in

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 9:27 am

Yes, there are health concern issues with Creatine as metabolisation issues always prop up when dealing even with natural substances.

Firstly, they are not always natural.  For example: Vitamin E comes in two forms commercially in supplement products, or at least did.  A naturally derived form and an artificially produced form.  
Now there have been some quite shuddering, frightening studies done in the past on Vitamin E supplementation, implicating it in some serious concerns for the health welfare of those taking it.  But it transpired that all studies that gave negative readings of Vitamin E supplementation used the artificial form in their studies.  So not all products that are marketed as the same thing, given the same name, or broadly described as 'natural occurring', are what they claim to be when the human body decides to metabolise them.

Then dosage.
These natural supplements mostly all come with recommended daily requirements.  These requirements are based on what humans naturally process through stomach, blood, liver, kidneys and so forth.  As soon as you start upping and upping the dosage to 'improve' performance or growth, you begin to ask more and more of the organs designed to filter and metabolise.  If you are demanding that the body utilises unnatural amounts of naturally occurring nutrients, then problems inevitably creep in - perhaps quickly but moreso slow and cumulative.
I think the most pertinent point I always think about when issues about drugs or indeed supplements come up.  We all know that the human body operates at a certain temperature when running optimally and in good health.  It's a very narrow band.  You go either end and you are signaling major problems in terms of health.  So the human body has that narrow band in terms of body temperature.  And that's chemistry at work.  That's our finely tuned chemical factory going through processes efficiently with correct raw materials being supplied in mostly the correct amounts.
So, any and all raw materials that are added in excess are obviously going to disrupt the workings of that chemical factory.

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Post by Sharkey06 on Tue 17 Mar 2020, 5:11 pm

In the 2017/18 season English professional rugby carried out 739 tests within the professional game (Gallagher Premiership, Greene King IPA Championship and Tyrrells Premier 15s) - fewer than 250 were carried out in the Premiership.  In the same season a total number of 99 tests were conducted in the community game.

There are 340,000 registered rugby players in England.  But, taking non-registered players into account, more than two million people play rugby in England.

Prior to the 2019 Rugby World Cup it was proudly announced that RWC “has stepped up its anti-doping programme such that two players from each team will be tested after every match and all 20 sides will be randomly visited every week by anti-doping officials from Japan.”

The South Africa wing Aphiwe Dyantyi, World Rugby’s breakthrough player of the year in 2018, was not at the World Cup after testing positive for three steroids.  Hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle, 33,tested positive for the growth hormone Zeranol in January and faces the prospect of his career being over, as it is his third positive test.

I’ll throw a couple of questions out there.

Do people think rugby is really trying to find drug cheats?  Look what has happened to cycling and athletics since they started looking for drug cheats - the popularity of both sports has bombed.

When you look at the bulked up physique of certain players, do you think that it all comes from natural substances and hard work?  There is more than a whiff of 'the bodybuilder' about some players.

According to the Home Office Crime survey around 1 in 5 (20.3%) adults aged 16 to 24 had taken an illegal drug in the last year.  Apparently rugby players are a very unrepresentative sample of the British public.

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Post by Guest on Tue 17 Mar 2020, 5:22 pm

Good points, sharkey. I am sure that rugby still has an old boy ethos and wants to see if it can send 'messages' out with the odd banning here or there to try to get the sport cleaner without having a widespread scandal. The Saracens farce is bad enough for its image this season.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 17 Mar 2020, 5:33 pm

Cycling has enjoyed a resurgence, particularly in this country because of Team Sky/Ineos and in South America following good Tour results. Belgium and Holland are enjoying their one day wins and Italy and France are always hot beds. Athletics tends to come and go based more on the characters at the top of their game. For instance it's always an easier sell if there's some big medal hopefuls from the UK plus some world class talent like Bolt. It's entirely possible to recover from a big doping scandal the main issue is committing the funds long term to prove you are keeping the sport clean. Once the story breaks you can't go back to the odd pre game testing it's then full biological passports and randomised testing.

I suspect rugby doesn't want to spend the money on enforcing doling regulations that is the biggest problem. It's an expensive operation. Better to catch a few every year as a mild deterrent.

The two areas of concern would be for me the use of it by young guys trying to bulk earlier than nature would otherwise allow them. Putting that strain on the heart and other organs cannot be good. It is entirely possible to become big enough for professional rugby using entirely legal methods, it just takes time and particularly if you are one of the people that physically matures later than others. The other is the use of prohibited substances to speed up recovery, as with injuries becoming more prevalent and contract lengths still short players can easily find themselves away from the top table down in the Championship where wages are a fraction of what they can earn elsewhere. The temptation to take substances at the start of your recovery knowing that testing is predominantly post game so you can try and flush it from your system before then must be very tempting.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 17 Mar 2020, 8:03 pm

Craig Chalmers son is one of those who tried to bulk up early to compete with some of the behemoths you get in age grade rugby, while all the stories coming out of Craven Week indicate, anecdotally, that young players feel compelled to bulk up. With steroid being fairly easy to get hold of, and their use allegedly ride in gyms around the UK you do suspect there has to be guys using within the game.

You cannot just look at the changing body shapes as professionalism will have made a huge difference, but it is hard for me to believe the limited testing we have is controlling the situation. As with C-19, if you do not test for it you can, in the words of the leader of the free world, have good numbers.

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Post by king_carlos on Tue 17 Mar 2020, 8:32 pm

There's also the issue that companies endeavoring to make PEDs that don't show up on tests are incomparably wealthier than anti doping agencies.

The numbers tested in rugby are very low. Arguably those tests themselves aren't hugely effective either.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed 18 Mar 2020, 8:21 am

king_carlos wrote:There's also the issue that companies endeavoring to make PEDs that don't show up on tests are incomparably wealthier than anti doping agencies.

The numbers tested in rugby are very low. Arguably those tests themselves aren't hugely effective either.

Mostly those companies don't care. The mass market is worth far more than the elite game. You can buy products off the shelf at Holland and Barrett that will fail a professional doping test. They'll have in their range of core products a protein supplement that is perfectly fine for elite sport and then get some sporting face to endorse it. Elsewhere in the core range they'll have some "extreme" or similarly titled product that will offer weight loss or mass gain promises which no professional sports person will be able to touch. They can sell those off the shelf for more with associated sports endorsement to the a lot of people from social players to gym goers and weekend athletes plus that most cash heavy of markets the weight loss workers.

There will always be some private doctor out there using a mic of what these companies offer to create a cocktail to avoid detection but as Armstrong himself noted, you can't door with biological passports and randomised testing. Didn't stop him taking blood transfusions though. Where there's a will and all that.

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Post by The Oracle on Wed 18 Mar 2020, 10:33 am

Yes, agreed Sam. This is where a lot of youth players get caught out. It's not always the seedy underworld of anabolic steroids, but often the legal over the counter health shop (Holland & Barrett for example) protein shakes or mass building supplements or energy drinks that will have in the small print a lesser known ingredient that is on the WADA banned list (e.g. ephedrine in some energy drinks and weight loss stuff). At the pro level you might have a nutritionist or team dietitian that sorts out the supplements and is skilled and knowledgeable, and most importantly up to date, on the allowed vs banned stuff (I've heard from a lad I know who played for the Dragons that after training the squad would come in to a room and just move along the line downing the various protein and recovery drinks lined up for them!). The players should also be mindful, especially consuming at home and our in restaurants, but there's often a host of employees employed to make sure they're not taking anything naughty. But for youth players navigating this themselves with limited knowledge they can often, unknowingly, ingest these things and be tarred for life as a drugs cheat. Don't get me wrong, there are youth players taking the really naughty stuff too. But a number that 'dope' accidentally too.
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