Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Why You Need A Sports Dietitian On Your Sports Medicine Team

Contributed by Lara Gray, MS, RD, CSSD,
Director of Education at Drug Free Sport, Inc.

Full disclosure: I am a sports dietitian (RD). But that is not the only reason I feel compelled to write a brief post on this topic. Through our work and educational outreach at Drug Free Sport, I have observed that the role of sports RDs on the sports medicine team is still largely misunderstood, under-budgeted, missing—or all of these at once. So, let me make a few points to elaborate on why you need a sports RD in your athletic program. If you are a sports RD reading this, use this information to strengthen your case on why you are essential to any athletic programs’ success, and the health and safety of the athletes they serve.

Most athletes have little to no nutrition knowledge.
o   Even a basic understanding of which foods provide carbs, proteins, or fats is primarily absent. A lack of basic nutrition principles immediately limits an athlete’s potential to make adequate fueling decisions for performance. This, in conjunction with issues pertaining to budget, often predisposes athletes to selecting high fat, high sugar options from cheap, grab’n’go conveniences (e.g., fast food, fried foods).

Lack of awareness of food-based solutions leads to increased reliance and trust in potentially harmful dietary supplements.
o   This generation of athletes will not shy away from using technology to source ways to “treat” sports performance issues (read: Google, Facebook, Twitter searches and online influence are at an all-time high). Enter dietary supplements. An athlete's lack of awareness pertaining to nutrition solutions for performance and recovery, and the results of their web search, often leads to dietary supplement products with questionable contents. They are often unregulated, contaminated with prohibited substances, contain heavy metals or toxic pesticides, or fall short of all of these and merely contain almond or soy flour—yet charge $30-$100 per bottle.

To deter supplement use in sport, athletes must receive practical and effective food solutions.
o   Current research estimates the prevalence of dietary supplement use in sport to be within a wide range of 40-75%; higher among those at more elite levels. The expertise of the sport RD can not only provide sound guidance on supplement safety and efficacy, but most importantly, also offer food-first solutions that provide safe, sustainable, and highly effective alternatives.

University of Texas Sports Dietitian, Amy Culp, RD, CSSD, LD, creates teachable moments where most effective—in front of the food.  UT Athletics is an example of a high functioning and collaborative sports medicine team that effectively incorporates sports nutrition for shared success. Photo courtesy of  UT Athletics. 

Sports RDs make nutrition decisions highly approachable, visible, and easy for athletes.
o   Sports RDs are educated and trained in food service operations. This makes them a primary asset when negotiating and determining pre-/post-game meals, stocking and maintaining refueling stations, navigating food options while teams are traveling, and working with catering and food service managers to create/enrich training table meals.

The sports RD can save both time and money.
o   Food costs money. Consider the time saved in human resources if you have someone working with teams, caterers, operations staff, and food service staff who can confidently set menus while competition is both home and away. Recognize cost savings from a professional experienced in ordering and stocking only the appropriate amounts and types of nutrition resources.

Sports RDs effectively support the collective success of any multidisciplinary sports medicine team.
o   The team physician’s efforts in athlete post-surgical care;
The athletic trainer’s efforts to support recovery, injury prevention, and immunity;
The sport psychologist’s efforts addressing athletes with disordered eating;
The coach’s efforts in achieving optimal body composition for performance;
—are all elevated and improved by the work of a sports RD.

Make sure to set their place at the table!

For additional guidance on adding a sports dietitian to your team, or to find a certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD) in your area, please email me at lgray@drugfreesport.com. Drug Free Sport advocates for all professional disciplines that support athlete health, performance, and safety. To learn more about the impact of sports dietitians on high performance teams, and experience a new sports industry conference that focuses on maximizing collaborative success of “the team behind the team”, visit www.sportexchangesummit.com.

What impact has a sport dietitian had on your team or athletic program? PLEASE USE THE COMMENTS TO SHARE!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Social Media: Benefitting A Drug-Free Sports Culture

Millennials’ use of the digital world is well-known and documented. This group of people, born between 1982 and 2004 according to most sources, are accustomed to immediate access to information. Long gone are the days of flipping through encyclopedias or even reference books for information; a simple Google search provides many more options. According to the American Press Institute, 88% of Millennials get news from Facebook, with 33% getting news from Twitter. They say that it exposes them to multiple opinions and views, making them have sculpted opinions from several sources. Many find out about sports results, health news and recommendations from peers and sources that they’ve never met – forming new camaraderie and trust in the process. Three-quarters of Millennials have an account on a social networking site, compared with only half of Generation Xers and less than a third of the Baby Boomers, according to Ibid and a White House report on the age group.

Courtesy, American Press Institute.
This group, varying in age from 12 – 34, is the core range of most high school, collegiate, amateur, and professional athletes.

While it’s impressive and convenient to get an immediate pulse on issues and news, one needs to be mindful of the accuracy and misinformation that is quickly disseminated in the race to be first to market or the first to “post”. They’re checking their accounts and acting upon the information.

It’s no coincidence that at Drug Free Sport, we have increased our social media outreach within the past six months, in an effort to provide informative posts on supplements (including FDA recalls), sport drug education, sport drug testing, events, and other current happenings in the world of sports that will benefit our athletes, their families, and their support teams. Additionally, it’s a way to listen, learn and engage with peers on topics that could benefit the entire sports community. Drug Free Sport is proud to have industry-leading technology and awareness on digital trends, including in social media.

We encourage all of our athletic administration partners, student-athletes, professional athletes and their support team members to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn, to hear about up-to-date events in the field. As we further develop our Webinar content, this will expand our digital footprint onto video-based social media outlets. It’s a great – and often times fun – reminder of the importance of making and encouraging good decisions within your circles of influence.

Drug Free Sport on Social Media:
Hashtag: #DrugFreeSport 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Supplement Certification Programs: State of the Industry and What You Need to Know

Dietary supplement (DS) contamination is a growing concern amongst sports organizations, defined as adding ingredients unlisted on the nutrition label into the supplement. DS are growing in popularity amongst athletes of all levels. However, little is known about these items that are being ingested by athletes. What is really in this supplement and is it banned?  

DS have a lot of unknown variables, due to a lack of government or industry regulation. Most sports organizations do not condone the use of DS, with intentions of protecting an athlete’s health and safety. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently does not regulate DS; therefore, anyone can make a dietary supplement without content restrictions. Many DS can be contaminated with Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs), substances that act like steroids. Without knowledge of these ingredients, athletes perceive the DS as harmless. In fact, it’s often quite the contrary. SARMS are strictly banned by most sports organizations, with a positive drug test due to banned substances bringing many perilous consequences.

Third-Party Supplement Certification Programs are fighting to ensure that all DS are safe to use and true to their labels. Meaning, DS companies are not hiding banned ingredients in their products. An excellent educational option for third-party supplement certification programs is the upcoming Sport Exchange Summit, Powered by Drug Free Sport. John Travis (Senior Research Scientist, National Science Foundation), Dave Ellis (first President of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association), and Dr. Dan Fabricant (Executive Director and CEO, Natural Products Association) will address the “what’s” and “why’s” of third-party supplement certification programs that are striving to clean up the supplement industry for athletes and general consumers. From the shared expertise of the panel, attendees will better understand the dynamics of banned substance testing, recognize products of concern, and begin to develop feasible approaches to help athletes make informed decisions about sports supplements.

Drug Free Sport’s Resource Exchange Center (REC) is the premier supplement review resource for NCAA, NAIA, LPGA, PGA Tour, USA Track & Field, and VADA sports organizations. The REC researches supplements submitted for contamination issues along with recalls, working to ensure health and safety of all of our clients’ athletes.

Don’t miss your chance to learn about third-party supplement certification programs at the Sport Exchange Summit, Powered by Drug Free Sport. Early-bird registration has been extended until the end of May! Register today at sportexchangesummit.com to educate yourself via industry leaders.

For more information on dietary supplement safety, visit dfsrec.com.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Drug Free Sport Talks International Business: IDTM and WADA-Compliant Testing

Drug Free Sport engaged in a new partnership with IDTM, a European leader in anti-doping and drug testing. We sat down for a Q&A with Ben Mosier, Director of Professional Sports Drug Testing at Drug Free Sport, to gain more insight on the details of our partnership with IDTM and WADA-Compliant Drug Testing.

 Copyright © 2014- IDTM-
All rights reserved.
Q: So, Drug Free Sport has a partnership with IDTM. Can you explain the partnership to me?

A: IDTM stands for International Doping Tests & Management. They are a world-wide anti-doping service provider that is based out of Stockholm, Sweden. Essentially, IDTM and Drug Free Sport are peer companies, separated by an ocean. IDTM takes care of European drug tests, while Drug Free Sport takes care of American drug tests.

Q: Does IDTM test in the same high-quality structure that Drug Free Sport does?

A: Yes, IDTM has a global network of certified Doping Control Officers (DCO) and Blood Collection Officers (BCO). These individuals provide collection services to International Sports Federations, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), National Anti-Doping Organizations, and Independent Sports Organizations.

Q: What is IDTM’s main focus?

A: They mainly test Olympic sport testing, both In-Competition and Out-of-Competition. However, they are also allowed to perform services for non-Olympic sports as well, since they are a third-party administrator.

Q: How do Drug Free Sport and IDTM work together?

A: With the large increase in U.S.-based collection work, IDTM has trained a select group of strategically-located Drug Free Sport DCOs to complete collection work for them. Equally, Drug Free Sport has trained and utilized several IDTM DCOs globally for Drug Free Sport client-specific collection work.

Copyright © WADA 2016
Q: You spoke about IDTM providing collections for WADA; can Drug Free Sport do the same?

A: Yes, Drug Free Sport is able to perform WADA-compliant tests like IDTM. However, most of Drug Free Sport’s clients are not bound by the WADA code. This means that they have the ability to customize their own testing programs. For example, they are able to determine the substances tested for, testing frequencies and procedures, and their sanctioning procedures.

Q: The Summer Olympics are starting in August. How will they impact Drug Free Sport’s drug testing?

A: If an athlete is participating or trying out for an Olympic team, but is a player within our U.S.-based client testing program (NBA, PGA Tour, LPGA, and certain NCAA sports), they must adhere to both WADA-sanctioned testing as well as the testing programs of the professional or collegiate leagues they fall under.

Q: How will the Olympics directly impact the athletes competing in both the Olympiad and a professional or collegiate league?

A: The athlete will see an increase in overall testing, both out-of-competition and in-competition. There will also be more stringent policies and sanctions to follow, along with multiple collection agencies and personnel performing the testing. 

Drug Free Sport is enthusiastic about our partnership with IDTM and is ready to further our mission to ‘ensure fair and safe sport’.