OBJECTIVES: To determine by survey whether the frequency of use of performance enhancing drugs (drug doping) is significant in elite players of Australian Rules football, and to compare this frequency with that in other competitions. METHODS: Randomised unannounced prospective urine testing during the period 1990-95 of players from the Australian Football League out of competition, in competition matches, and in finals matches; testing was performed according to Olympic International Committee protocols and standards. The players' identities and clubs were unknown during testing. RESULTS: Of 900 random urine tests, no positive results were obtained for anabolic steroids, diuretics, caffeine, or peptide hormones. Five positive results (0.6%) were obtained-for pseudoephedrine in two instances, and for probenecid, methoxyphenamine, and dextropropoxyphene in one instance each. Each were inadvertent medical doping and declared before testing. CONCLUSIONS: Drug doping is not a problem in the Australian Football League. This is probably because no doping method is considered to be of value to Australian Rules football, because an educational programme is run by football authorities, and because random during season and out of season testing for drugs occurs.
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