The U.S. Anti Doping Agency has reversed a long standing position of never allowing Testosterone Therapy exemption for athletes. The agency is now allowing Masters Cyclist, Jeff Hammond to compete in races while under medically prescribed testosterone. His was the first Anti-doping exemption given for medical supplementation of previously banned ‘steroids’ like testosterone and more exemptions have followed.
This is a new USADA exemption, for masters and amateur athletes, who are prescribed drugs previously banned by competitors. The agency is terming this a “Recreational Competitor Therapeutic Use Exemption”, for amateur and masters to compete in low-level competitions. It pertains to specific substances that need a pre approval and a medical review of the medical need. The USADA issued a statement, “Out of fairness to those non-competitive athletes, we put in place a process that allows for them to compete while still requiring a fair and reasonable review of each recreational athlete’s medical situation,”
Testosterone’s illegal abuse for performance enhancement among Olympic athletes in the 80’s and 90’s before proper testing could better monitor and manage the situation. Because of the lack of understanding of testosterone’s need to treat hypogonadism and lack of ability to properly test athletes for abuse, the US Anti-Doping Agency, the US Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee were all forced to take a zero tolerance policy for testosterone use by athletes.
The most important thing is the continued medical acceptance of Hormone Replacement Therapy and Testosterone Therapy for appropriate medical reason. Abuse of testosterone by athletes in the past still holds a stigma today for the life changing, legitimate therapies helping so many people today. The US Ant-Doping Agencies abandonment of their hard core, zero tolerance policy shows how far we have come in such a short time to ensure that people with depleted endocrine systems can receive treatment as needed and not be shunned for taking care of their health.
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