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The starting pistol has been fired for the 30th Olympic Games, hosted in London. The world’s current greatest and future champions are competing on all fronts for the next two weeks. Whether it is football, rowing, hockey or athletics, the chance to win Gold is pulsating through every athlete’s mind. What golden opportunities present pharmacy in today's games and potentially other sports?
Well, there are currently 183 athletes banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and Albanaian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku became the first athlete to be tested positive for a banned substance (Stanozolol) in the 2012 games.
GSK and Kings College London are collaborating in running the Drug Control Centre in Harlow. The team comprises of 12 experts, 150 scientists and 1,000 staff members to determine if an athlete is essentially 'cheating'. Approximately 6,000 urine samples will be tested over the two weeks, which equates to around 400 samples a day, this certainly signifies a more forceful and organised attempt to eradicate doping and allow a more fairer game.
The role in anti-doping in one side of the spectrum. Specifically, pharmacists have a significant role through the Pharmacy Clinical Services Group, providing services for everyone involved in the games, including athletes, volunteers and spectators. They will provide services for 10,500 athletes from 205 countries, 4,200 Paralympic athletes from 170 countries and an estimated 9.2 million spectators in over 50 venues. Three polyclinics will be used, one being in Stratford and the utilisation of hospital style outpatient dispensary will provide the services. On top of this pharmacists will provide nutrition advice and education on banned substances.
The front-line role of pharmacy seems to be having an increasing demand in the world of sport, and this can be intensified by the addition of 4 courses laid out by the CPPE in 2011. Pharmacists also have an emerging role in sports medicine adding to the awareness of drugs in performance enhancement and treatment, therapy of sports illnesses, prevention of sports illnesses, optimisation of performance through diet education and knowledge of abuse and doping.
With this in mind, the impact and importance of Pharmacists in sports is clearly already on the top podium.