Study aim: This study assessed the level of knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes of tertiary student athletes on doping issues. Emphasis was placed on the knowledge of substances found on the prohibited list of the World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) as well as the potential effects and side effects of the drugs when consumed.
Material and methods: The study was conducted in elite tertiary student sportspersons who had qualified in their various disciplines to represent Ghana at the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China.
Results: The study found that these sportspersons had significantly higher levels of knowledge of socially abused drugs that also appeared on the WADA prohibited list, such as cocaine (90.9%, p<0.01), heroine (90.9%, p<0.01), cannabis (87.9%, p<0.01) and steroids (72.7%, p<0.05), as compared to drugs that are not socially abused. There was also a large gap in knowledge among respondents with regard to specific knowledge about the possible effects and side effects of banned substance. Of these sportspersons, 30% had received some form of education on doping agents; however, there was no significant statistical difference in knowledge between respondents that had received some form of education and those that had not.
Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that sporting authorities would have to intensify their efforts to provide tertiary school athletes with credible and up-to-date information on doping issues. These interventions may also need to be extended to the wider sporting populace.
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