ANTI-DOPING: A call for ethics in sports medicine

The new, de facto head of worldwide anti-doping? U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart

The chief of the United States Anti-Doping Agency is now campaigning about more than doping; he’s now working on ethical use of allowed drugs.

Travis Tygart told the online version of the British newspaper The Daily Mail that “‘The days of blood transfusions, and open and obvious growth hormone and testosterone use we saw at US Postal and BALCO are gone. I’m not saying athletes aren’t still going to take some risks but it’s not like it was.

“The frontier is pressure being put on athletes to use non-prohibited drugs like thyroxine, like tramadol, to gain performance advantage. Putting athletes in a position where they have to use non-prohibited drugs in a way that is not medically acceptable just to get performance enhancement. It’s a real concern. …

“We are talking about code of conduct rules — not anti-doping rules. But they could apply to the coaches, the doctors, the sport federation providing drugs without a clear medical need and just for performance enhancement. It’s an unacceptable culture.” Tygart’s idea is right, but there’s a long way to go to get to where he wants the World Anti-Doping Agency to go.