Consequences of Doping

We all know that the majority of athletes are clean and comply with the Anti-Doping Rules. For this reason it is essential for us all to take measures to protect the reputation of deaf sport and sporting achievements. However, there will be some athletes who decide to cheat. As a consequence, it is crucial to work hard to detect cheating behaviour and remove those who dope from sport.

Likewise, we know that at various stages in an athlete's sporting career, some athletes may be more vulnerable to doping decisions. Some athletes who used prohibited substances had no intention to do so - they felt desperate and vulnerable. Some athletes were pressured by teammates, coaches, or other athlete support personnel. It is possible that some athletes doped by accident, as they did not receive the necessary education or did not follow the right guidelines.

In order to be considered a clean athlete, you must respect yourself, your health, your competitors, and your sport. If you are found doping, a ban from sport is not the only consequence. There are many consequences of doping that will affect the health, psychological and mental wellbeing of yours as well as social and financial aspects of life. These consequences are extremely detrimental and far-reaching.

Health Condition

The use of performance enhancing drugs may have long and short-term impact on the Athlete’s physical and mental health. Depending on the substance, the dosage and the duration of use, some performance enhancing drugs have been proven to have severe side effects and can cause irreversible damage to an Athlete’s body.

In addition to the physical aspects, scientific research has shown that there is a considerable correlation between the use of performance enhancing drugs and mental health issues. Most commonly, it was found that the use of doping substances can trigger anxiety, obsessive disorders or psychosis.


A sanction for doping can go from a warning or reprimand to a lifetime ban from all sports – depending on the Anti-Doping Rule Violation committed. Although sanctions are specific to the facts at hand, for ADRVs of Presence of use of a Prohibited substance, the basic rules are as follows:

  • If you intended to cheat, whatever the substance, the period of ineligibility is four years
  • Otherwise, it is two years – unless you can show you had no significant fault or negligence, in which case ineligibility may be reduced by up to a maximum of one year, that is, to a minimum ineligibility of one year.
  • If the violation involved a specified substance, generally found more easily in over- the-counter medications or in contaminated supplements and are more likely to be used for a purpose other than enhancement of sport performance, and you can demonstrate that you had no significant fault, ineligibility may range from two years to a reprimand, depending on your level of fault.
  • You should also be aware that multiple Anti-Doping Rule Violations, or the presence of multiple substances may increase the sanction you face beyond four years.
  • For some Anti-Doping Rule Violations, the penalty can be a life ban from sport.

An Anti-Doping Rule Violation will have an impact on an Athlete’s ability to train and compete. For coaches and other Athlete support personnel, a ban may mean that they are no longer able to work with Athletes. It is also important to note that individuals banned in the sport will also be prohibited from competing, coaching or working with Athletes in any other capacity in a different sport.

Beyond the legal consequences, an increasing number of public authorities and governments have adopted legislations that treat doping as a criminal act. Consequently, in addition to being ineligible to compete or coach, you may face criminal charges in your country. Depending on the national legislation and the degree of the violation, charges can lead to fines, social service requirements and even incarceration.

Special note for inadvertent doping:

Even if an athlete uses a prohibited substance by accident (not intending to cheat) but ignores the risks associated with certain products and does nothing to mitigate those risks – it could still be classified as intentional. As a general rule, athletes need to demonstrate how the substance entered their body to prove their behaviour was not intentional. This can include, for example, analysing the supplement the athlete used if they claim that the prohibited substance came from a contaminated supplement.

If the ADRV involves a substance of abuse, and the athlete can establish that the substance was used Out-of-Competition and was unrelated to sport performance, the period of sanction is three months (which can be reduced to one month if they complete a substance of abuse treatment program approved by their Anti-doping organisation).

Social Relations

Being associated with doping or a doping offence will have an impact on the person’s reputation and social relations. In the public view, Athletes or other persons convicted of doping are often considered “cheaters” and experience many forms of stigma.

Doping has a significant negative impact on the person’s private life and social interactions as people may feel that they no longer want to be connected to someone who has damaged the reputation of a sport and displayed poor judgement.


A ban resulting from an Anti-Doping Rule Violation will have a significant financial impact on the individual. For Athletes, this includes, but is not limited to, the requirement to return prize money or a financial sanction imposed as a result of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation. Other effects of doping include termination of contracts and sponsorship deals, loss of government funding and other forms of financial support.