Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Thursday, March 1, 2018


By Gene Willis, Director of Marketing

March brings about much excitement in the sports world. The freshness and hope of baseball spring training and opening day for Major League Baseball. The excitement of collegiate basketball tournaments on all levels, with last-second miracles. The first full month of NASCAR’s auto racing schedule. High school track and field meets, golf tournaments, and other interscholastic competitions take shape.

None of these events would be possible without proper medical care from allied health professionals. They’re a core part of the “team behind the team” that works compassionately for the health and safety of athletes. March is a celebration of certified athletic trainers (ATCs)  – “National Athletic Training Month” – with organizations throughout sport supporting their work. Support and follow the movement online with the hashtag #NATM2018.

Since 2013, Drug Free Sport has provided more than $85,000 toward the assistance of certified athletic trainer continuing education opportunities.  We are continuing this outreach with our Continuing Education Awards competition, supporting high school and collegiate ATCs who are on the front lines of preventing drug abuse and dietary supplement misuse.

Last year, five recipients used Drug Free Sport Continuing Education Awards to attend industry conferences while also earning valuable continuing educational units (CEUs) from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), via the Board of Certification (BOC). The judging committee for the awards is comprised of a diverse group of sport drug testing professionals and certified athletic trainers, including two former award recipients.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The 2018 Sport Exchange Summit: Don't Miss It.

By Gene Willis, Director of Marketing

Last year, Drug Free Sport hosted it’s first-ever industry conference – The Sport Exchange Summit, Powered by Drug Free Sport. By all accounts, it was a success in focusing on the needs, conversations, and happenings for those that are “the team behind the team”.

Many of the attendees visiting Kansas City, MO represented groups that are in daily contact with athletes on all levels: certified athletic trainers, sports psychologists, strength and conditioning coaches, education leaders, and sport coaches. Also present were professional league office officials, international organizers of sport, post-sport career professionals, and students looking to learn about their future career paths. 


“The Sport Exchange Summit was one of the finest collections of expert presentations on a multitude of areas affecting health and wellness of athletes.  The multidisciplinary approach to the meeting presents many perspectives and broadens awareness of the many issues that must be considered in today’s world of sport.”

Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine
Iowa State University


In 2018, we will build from this great foundation to add new topics that affect sport professionals internationally. On June 11 and 12 in Kansas City, these will include:

With our industry expertise as the leader in sport drug testing and wellness education, you’ll also hear about the latest developments in Dietary Supplements, Prescription Stimulants in Sport: Use, Misuse, and Abuse, and Marijuana and Sport: An Update on Legalization and Performance

We are happy to confirm our two keynote speakers, dynamic groundbreakers in sport:
  • Katie Sowers is the San Francisco 49ers' Seasonal Offensive Assistant Coach - only the second woman to coach in the NFL and the first LGBT person to serve as an NFL coach. She'll speak about her experience of working in a male-dominated sport and her focus on excellence.
  • Billy Bean is the Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner for Major League Baseball (MLB). He is the only living MLB player to disclose that he is gay. His keynote speech will address his work on MLB's Diversity & Inclusion Committee, his career, and his life journey. 

“I was honored to present at the Sport Exchange Summit, powered by Drug Free Sport, in 2016. This gathering represents a multi-disciplined approach to the overall health and well-being of athletes at all levels of sport. The excellent presentations and topics surely enhances the education and knowledge of all attendees. What a wonderful professional experience; Drug Free Sport provides a great opportunity for all involved!”

Chris Carr, Ph.D., HSPP, CC-AASP
Sport & Performance Psychologist
St. Vincent Sports Performance


For many, this conference is a great chance to interact with industry leaders, to expand your network, and to grow your career. Continuing education hours are awarded for several certified industries, including:
  • Sports Physicians (CMEs)
  •           BOC Certified Athletic Trainers
  •           Strength and Conditioning coaches (NSCA and CSCCa)
  •          Sport Dietitians (CDR)
  •          Sport Psychologists (APA).

Being located in the center of the United States, the conference is accessible to all and affordable. Register by February 28, 2018 for the early-bird price of $349. Better yet, register by the end of December and you’re entered to win a Garmin VivoSmart HR+ fitness tracker!

Register today. Discuss the upcoming event online with the hashtag #SESummit18.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Regulatory Limits of Hemp and CBD Products for Drug Tested Athletes

Contributed by Guest Blogger Dave Ellis, RD, CSCS


Recently, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) pulled cannabidiol (CBD) from the 2018 Prohibited Substance List. Previously, it was illegal for Olympic athletes to use hemp products and isolates from hemp-like CBDs (1).  Literally within 48 hours of WADA releasing the news of CBD’s new permissible status, some of the bigger players in the CBD supplement space began to target drug-tested athletes.  Many of these companies make claims that some of their CBD extracts are 100% THC-free, and in compliance with WADA testing standards for THC. Yet, studies show significant inaccuracies on label claims including the actual amount of CBD found in products, and the presence of THC (2,3).

We have no credible third-party certifying agencies that can currently ensure that every batch of a CBD extract is truly THC-free.  Skip lot testing (as often used for dietary supplements) on THC levels in CBD products is not going to be good enough for drug-tested athletes, and the folks doing the testing will have to be free of any conflicts of interest with the hemp industry. 

There are no federal guidelines that determine label claim qualifications for products promoted as being “THC free.”  One company making THC claims states that they are in compliance with WADA’s “strict testing regulations” for THC by not exceeding 0.3% THC in the product. 

Like caffeine, not everyone metabolizes cannabinoids the same (4).  Even in small amounts, increased frequency of use may well accumulate THC to the point of detection by a drug test. Athletes who are drawn to CBDs as an intervention for pain, concussions, sleep, immune health, etc., must proceed with caution. 

Some professional sports still consider CBD a prohibited substance. While most don’t specifically test for CBD, they do not fund or supply any hemp-based products to athletes, due to the lack of credible assurances or third-party verification that each batch of the product is truly THC-free.
Athletes are advised extreme caution when considering these unregulated and untested CBD products.

1. Summary of Major Modifications and Explanatory Notes – 2018 WADA Prohibited List

2. Bonn-Miller, MO, Mallory JE Loflin, Brian F Thomas, et al. “Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online.” JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709.

3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Warning Letters and Test Results for Cannabidiol-Related Products.” 2015-2017. https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm484109.htm. Updated Nov 2, 2017.

4. Hawks, Richard L. The analysis of cannabinoids in biological fluids. Vol. 42. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1982.

Dave Ellis is a Veteran Sports RD who specializes in food and supplement security for drug tested athletes. His full bio and professional work can be found at daveellisbio.com.