Saturday, December 31, 2011
Why We Test
To my knowledge, the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge is the only sport in the public safety sector that conducts drug testing. We do this not because it is easy or that we even want to do it. We do it because people who cheat undermine the very ethos of what we’re all about.
Drugs in sport has permeated professional and scholastic ranks for decades. With seemingly so much on the line, people are willing to cut corners or cheat to win. In the Tour d’France, it’s virtually impossible to win without the aid of a pharmacopeia of supplements. One wonders if baseball will ever really recover from the abuses of the past.
In our sport, it’s not money, but the prestige of the fire service that’s at stake. Professional athletes have publicly rejected the notion that they serve in any capacity as a role model. Like it or not, Firefighters are held to a higher standard. People allow us, even command us to enter their premises when they’re not there. We are afforded a level of confidence that’s a sacred bond. And in all but the most infrequent of circumstances we meet their expectations.
In our early years, we tried the voluntary compliance route; i.e., “I affirm by my signature...” Regrettably, that did not work. Testing appears to be the only true remedy. As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify.” A drug might be legally prescribed, but might also be a banned substance for the purposes of sport.
And so, we will at considerable expense continue to test at the World Challenge and other random locations. Presently, we’re revisiting the protocols for sample accessions and the consequences for violation. Again, it is your responsibility to know what you’re taking. Labels on some products can be misleading or downright inaccurate. There are respected brands that have submitted samples for assays and have posted bonds to validate the purity of their products.