Clean Sport at the Front Line: Why you should attend

One of UK Anti-Doping’s newest Athlete Commission members, James Hudson, is a former top level rugby union player, now working with Gloucester RFC as a nutritionist. James, along with a number of other leading practitioners and researchers, will be sharing his specialist insight at UKAD’s Clean Sport at the Front Line event at the end of January in Loughborough, and there’s still time for you to join them.

The theme of this year's event is the protection of vulnerable athletes. So, whether you’re involved in athlete support, sports research, a national governing body or a university programme and are committed to clean sport, the event will provide you with excellent insight, ideas and networking opportunities, and if you’re a BASES or SENr member, it will also count towards your CPD.

If these aren’t enough reasons to attend, James explains what else you can expect to gain from the day.

“Clean Sport at the Front Line is an excellent opportunity for practitioners, whether you’re a nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach, physio, or anyone involved in athlete support, to come together and discuss how we can minimise the risk around potential doping infringements, particularly with regards to athletes who might be in vulnerable positions. Whether that’s young players who feel they are pushed towards making certain choices in order to get bigger and stronger, or athletes who might not be educated enough to make those risk assessments for themselves.

“I’ll be sharing my experience and ideas on how to combat such issues, as well as giving insight on where during my career I felt more vulnerable to those points, and how they can be dealt with.

“For me, there are two key elements to be taken from the day, and that’s around how we educate, and identifying and working with vulnerable athletes.”

How we educate

“It’s vital that as well as recognising the need to educate athletes around anti-doping, we understand how best to get those messages across. It’s all very well doing tick-box exercises – getting someone in for a one-off talk for example - but how can we make sure that education gets remembered, how do we make it a consistent theme?

“We can frighten athletes a little bit by explaining what strict liability is, or around Global DRO and medications, but what is going to be really beneficial at the forum is the opportunity for like-minded practitioners to discuss how they would educate those vulnerable groups. These are the athletes who are more likely, if they’re not educated properly, to make poor decisions.

“The chance for practitioners from different areas within a support team, such as nutritionists and physios, to get together to discuss their ideas and experiences, doesn’t come around all that often, so Clean Sport at the Front Line is the ideal opportunity to gain some really valuable insight.”

Identifying and working with vulnerable athletes

“How often do we work as whole multi-disciplinary teams about how to approach identifying and working with vulnerable athletes? You have to identify the vulnerable athletes and then communicate as a team to make sure they’re not pushed into making poor decisions.

“You can’t just say to 17 or 18-year-old rugby players ‘you’ve got the get bigger and stronger’. You’ve got to have a plan with strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, the medical team, and make sure the messaging is aligned.

“It will be really good at Clean Sport at the Front Line for people who are in different roles to have those conversations around how you identify and then approach working with those individuals, and how you align all the education.”

What: Clean Sport at the Front Line

When: Tuesday 29 January 2019

Where: Burleigh Court, Loughborough University (West Park), Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3GR

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