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MEDICINA DELLO SPORT
A Journal on Sports Medicine
Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, EMBASE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,163
MEDICINE PREVENTIVE SECTION
Medicina dello Sport 2004 March;57(1):55-76
Assessment of the correct understanding of doping on the part of 25.000 Turin and Piedmont students aged 14-18
Ganzit G. P., Astegiano P., Gribaudo C. G., Cravero M., Stefanini L., Stesina G., Valenza S.
Istituto di Medicina dello Sport FMSI di Torino, Torino
A 92-item questionnaire designed and handled to ensure their anonymity was filled in by 25000 male and female Piedmontese students aged 14-18 in an assessment of their level of knowledge and correct understanding of doping and supplements, and their readiness to make use of drugs and methods that could unfairly and harmfully improve athletic performance. The answers showed a lack of information concerning doping and drugs, and indicated that it would be best provided by TV and at school. There was a certain confusion between doping and the use of supplements: 36% of the boys, for example, thought that doping included the administration of creatine. The students displayed a lively interest in sport in both professional terms and as a way of showing their supremacy, so much so that 33% of the boys regarded winning as the most important feature of a competition, while for 33% of the boys and 22% of the girls this need to be first was strong enough to justify the use of illicit substances to improve one’s performance, as suggested partly by the attitude of adults (coaches and physicians), and partly by the behaviour of leading athletes: 40% of the students believed that nearly all professional sportspersons resort to doping, while 32% of the boys were personally acquainted with an athlete who does so. Changing the behaviour of those who take part in sports is out of the question, nor can we expect to eliminate the desire for even illicitly achieved victory and supremacy. We must, however, provide fuller information concerning the adverse effects of drugs and doping methods on human health. It is also necessary that exemplary punishment be meted out to those the guilty (athletes, trainers, physicians) so as to reduce the temptation to imitate them.