As a result of findings like these, many sports federations have actively worked to provide athletes with resources to aid in preventing inadvertent doping with measurable success. A 2015 follow-up to the IOC study stated, “The present results indicate that the prevalence of supplement contaminations has decreased in recent years.” This is welcome progress. In support of that positive trend, the Austrian Ski Federation is collaborating with NSF International, a global public health and safety organisation, to strengthen the federation’s already rigorous doping prevention program and demonstrate its deep commitment to its athletes and doping prevention.
Under the new agreement, NSF International will test sports supplements used by Austrian Ski Federation athletes to help eliminate the risk of inadvertent doping due to products being contaminated with substances banned in sport.
Supplement brands providing products to the federation’s athletes are required to submit batch samples to NSF International’s laboratory in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany to be screened for approximately 260 substances banned in sport. As part of the agreement and at the request of the athlete, NSF International is also testing supplements used by champion skier Marcel Hirscher, the seven-time FIS World Cup winner and double Olympic gold medalist.
“My job is to make sure that all athletes of the Austrian Ski Federation can entirely focus on the sport and use their energy to deliver their best performances at major ski competitions. Our program creates a high level of safety and trust for our athletes when taking their preferred sports nutrition supplements,” said Dr. Wolfgang Schobersberger, anti-doping advisor to the Austrian Ski Federation and head of sports medicine at Tirol Kliniken, Innsbruck.
“When we learned that NSF International tests supplements for approximately 260 substances banned in sport at its German laboratory, we knew that this level of protection was exactly what we needed in order to strengthen our doping prevention program and to minimise the risk of inadvertent doping from supplements.”
NSF International’s European laboratory is ISO/IEC 17025 accredited to test supplements for banned substances from the prohibited lists managed by WADA and major sports organisations in the United States.
In addition to banned substance testing, NSF International also operates the Certified for Sport® supplement certification program. To meet the rigorous requirements of the Certified for Sport® program, products are independently tested for banned substances as well as potentially harmful levels of other contaminants, such as lead, arsenic and cadmium. Certified for Sport® certification also includes reviews of label claims, product formulation and toxicology, as well as ongoing facility audits.
NSF International also supports other doping prevention initiatives, such as the Austria-based training course Doping & Doping Prevention, organised by the Institute for Sports and Alpine Medicine (ISAG) in collaboration with the University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology (UMIT) in Hall, Tyrol. The course is the first of its kind in the German-speaking region and is a knowledge platform for coaches and medical staff serving athletes, sports clubs and associations. The training comes in two modules and focuses on anti-doping initiatives which the attendees can then communicate to athletes in their network. The initiative also receives support from the Austrian Ski Federation as well as the National Anti-Doping Agency of Austria.