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AFL players should demand to know risks and benefits

Victoria University sport ethics expert Dennis Hemphill is available for comment on AFL player rights and welfare in the wake of the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision to uphold WADA’s appeal against the AFL and ban 34 players.

Associate Professor Hemphill said ASADA chief executive officer, Ben McDevitt, today dropped a bombshell – disclosing previously confidential material that implicated the Essendon players.

“McDevitt’s comments indicated that players agreed to injections they knew little about, made no enquiries about them, kept the injections from team doctors and failed to declare them during routine ASADA testing sessions,” he said.

“Players will need to have more courage to ask difficult questions about the supplements regime, given that the WADA code’s principle of strict liability makes them ultimately responsible for what goes into their bodies.

“They need to stand up and question the conditions under which they are expected to perform.”

He said all AFL players needed to take responsibility and demand full disclosure of the benefits and risks of any substance.

The bar also needs to be raised about duty of care and informed consent, he said.

“AFL clubs contemplating the implementation of performance enhancement methods need to be especially diligent in understanding the benefits and risks, both health and legal, and ensuring that their athletes are fully aware of them,” he said.

“High-performance managers also need to be aware of the power differential between them and players – that can sometimes compromise the ability of players to question, let alone say no, to performance enhancement regimes.”

Associate Professor Hemphill said football clubs should be held more accountable given their duty of care to ensure a safe working environment compliant with the WADA anti-doping code.

He is available for interview.

For interviews:  Associate Professor Dennis Hemphill, 0410 844 714 or dennis.hemphill@vu.edu.au

Media contact: Elisabeth Tarica 03 9919 9491, 0435 960 793 or elisabeth.tarica@vu.edu.au

 

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