Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Monday, August 22, 2016

NCAA "Approved" Supplements. Explaining the truth.

Contributed by Anna Filardo, MS, CPT 
Education Program Manager at Drug Free Sport, Inc.

MYTH: The NCAA approves dietary supplements.
Dietary supplement companies might advertise supplements as “NCAA Approved” on brand websites and packaging labels and persuade student-athletes to buy their product. This marketing effort may give sports medicine staff the perception that the supplement is safe and appropriate for their student-athletes. Many believe there is a list of NCAA “approved” dietary supplements— or that there is an approval process.

Image courtesy of NCAA
"There is no list of NCAA-approved supplement products.” [Quote and image from the 2016-17 NCAA Drug-Testing Program.] The NCAA has a food-first mindset: eat whole foods instead of using dietary supplements to achieve performance and recovery goals. Dietary supplements bring uncertainty to consumers. Due to minimal regulation or oversight by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), supplement companies ARE NOT required to have pre-market approval of safety, efficacy, or purity of their products before selling them to consumers. So, there is no way for the NCAA (or any sport organization) to be 100% certain of what is in a dietary supplement.  

Drug Free Sport AXIS™ is the NCAA’s preferred tool to provide guidance on dietary supplements and assess for banned ingredients and misleading marketing.  The Drug Free Sport AXIS™ team’s role is to compare the NCAA banned substance list with the supplement facts and ingredient list on any dietary supplement. This process does not endorse or indicate any approval for the use of a dietary supplement.

A Risk Level 1 DOES NOT mean the dietary supplement is approved for NCAA athletes. Student-athletes consume dietary supplements at their own risk. Similarly, it is up to the institution to interpret the NCAA bylaw that pertains to the direct distribution of permissible nutritional supplements.

It is important for athletic departments and student-athletes to understand that a supplement categorized as a Risk Level 1 in the Drug Free Sport AXIS™ Dietary Supplement Inquiry resource DOES NOT make the dietary supplement permissible to directly supply to student-athletes. Drug Free Sport does not provide official interpretation of NCAA policies and bylaws.

Let’s recap:
  • The NCAA does not approve the use of dietary supplements.
  • Dietary supplements are only permissible under four categories and certain ingredients.
  • A Drug Free Sport AXIS™ Risk Level 1 supplement assignment does not indicate that the dietary supplement is approved or permissible for use. 
To learn more about NCAA rules regarding dietary supplements or to ask specific questions on the topic, be sure to register for our upcoming webinar on September 14: NCAA Dietary Supplements: Approved, Permissible, or Banned?  The webinar will be presented by Mary Wilfert, Associate Director for the NCAA Sports Science Institute and Lara Gray, Director of Education for Drug Free Sport.

To submit a Dietary Supplement Inquiry on Drug Free Sport AXIS™ visit www.drugfreesport.com/axis

Friday, August 12, 2016

Key Lessons and Outcomes from Sport Exchange Summit 2016

To the day, we are a month after Drug Free Sport’s first “Sport Exchange Summit”, where we gathered thought leaders from sport to discuss the bigger issues that affect “the team behind the team”. For two days, we were inspired and challenged by calls to action to be full resources to the athletic communities that we serve.

A few highlights from this event that continue to resonate:

-         Drug Abuse in Sport: Students are returning to campuses around America right now, each bringing a new set of experiences with them from the summer months. Our presenters that discussed prescription drug abuse and new forms of marijuana consumption shared the risks and access that youth have to these substances. These aren’t the recreational drugs of old – they’re genetically charged, in many cases not prescribed, and widely accessible. Drug Free Sport offers educational options for many levels of sport on how to listen, consult and guide athletes who are experiencing these challenges during an age of experimentation.

-         Race/Diversity in Sport: It’s one of America’s hot topics right now. Sport brings together people of all walks of life, in its best, forming one unit for a greater good. However, there are differences that are to be acknowledges as we embrace the idea that athletes bring their life experiences to the field and court. Learning to listen, understand and embrace these differences, even when they are uncomfortable, is a mentally healthy approach to humanizing your team members.

-         Sport Staff Integration of Ideas: The Sport Exchange Summit brought together career paths that cross each other on campuses and in training centers , but that don’t often speak on a peer level. Throughout many presentations, leaders emphasized the importance of athletic trainers, team psychologists, dietitians, athletic administrations and others sharing ideas for the athletes that they support. It wasn’t lost on anyone in the room that each group often has their individual goals, especially as revenue and performance are frequently hand in hand. To quote Aristotle, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” We need to remember that this is one of the reasons that so many professionals were drawn to a career in sports.  From visiting interns to Pro Football Hall of Famer Will Shields, this message resonated throughout the event and beyond.

-         Self-development. Each of the numerous attendees made an effort to travel to Kansas City, devoting at least two days toward continuing education. It’s important to take care of the people that take care of others – in this case, it’s self-maintenance. Please continue to take care of yourself and each other as this school year starts. We are a support system and a community. To continue these conversations that were started, join the conversations on Twitter using the #SportExchangeSummit hashtag. If you’re new to the event and didn’t attend, review the hashtag to see the great comments and content.

Drug Free Sport will offer continuing educational opportunities, including our free webinar on Tuesday, August 23 on marijuana trends. For more information, including how to register, click here: bit.ly/2aL2zRE