Consequences of doping

Health Risks

    What’s the big deal?

    Most medications on the prohibited list can be bought at a pharmacy – so they must be safe to use, right?

    NO! Medications are for people with specific health issues – NOT for healthy players. They were not approved to be used by healthy people in higher does and in combination with other substances.

    What about dietary or nutritional supplements?

    Extreme caution is recommended regarding supplement use! Why?

    • Supplement companies are not regulated – meaning you never know what you are taking.
    • If they produce incredible results, they usually contain a banned substance (even an “all-natural” supplement could contain a prohibited substance).
    • Labels are incomplete

    ALERT  for all players using supplements - There have been a high number of Adverse Analytical Findings (AAF) for the Prohibited Substance ‘Higenamine’ recently in Basketball. It is strongly recommended that you review this warning.

    What else should you know?

    Methods: There are also methods of administering substances or manipulating your physiology that are banned. These methods can also have negative effects on your body. For example:

    Blood doping, including having blood transfusions to change the way your blood carries oxygen to the rest of your body, may result in:

    • An increased risk of heart failure, stroke, kidney damage and high blood pressure
    • Problems with your blood – like infections, poisoning, overloading of your white cells, and reduction of platelet count
    • Problems with your circulatory system

    As with any injectable drug, using a syringe to dope puts you at a higher risk for contracting infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.


    What happens to an athlete who uses prohibited substances? 


    Health Risk


    Marijuana, cannabis, pot – whatever you call it, IT IS BANNED. Whether you are a Pot-head or a casual user, marijuana may have a negative effect on your athletic performance and your health. Using may:

    • Reduce your memory, attention, and motivation – even result in learning disabilities
    • Weaken your immune system
    • Affect your lungs (chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases, even throat cancer)
    • Lead to psychological and physical dependence


    • Weakened immune system
    • Decreased heart rate and suppressed respiratory system (you can’t compete if you are dead)
    • Loss in balance, coordination and concentration
    • Gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and constipation
    • Narcotics are also highly addictive – your body and mind quickly become dependent on them


    Steroids may boost the growth of muscles BUT they also have negative health effects:

    • Psychological dependence
    • Acne
    • Baldness
    • Increase of risk of liver and cardiovascular disease
    • Mood swings
    • Increased aggressiveness 
    • Suicidal thoughts 

    Gents, you may look forward to:

    • Shrinking testicles
    • Breast growth
    • Reduced sex drive and even impotence
    • Decrease in sperm production

    Ladies, you can enjoy:

    • A Deeper voice
    • Excessive facial and body hair
    • Abnormal menstrual cycles
    • An enlarged clitoris


    Blood doping is the misuse of certain techniques and substances to increase red blood cell mass. It includes EPO (erythropoietin), oxygen carriers or blood transfusions. All forms of blood doping is on the list of prohibited substances and methods.


    EPO (erythropoietin) may help with the way your body uses oxygen, BUT… why risk it when it may lead to death? Using EPO may make your blood more like honey – thick and sticky – than water. Trying to pump this thick blood through your veins may:

    • Make you feel weak – not good when you are trying to train hard!
    • Give you high blood pressure
    • Make your heart work so hard that you have a heart attack or stroke (even at your age)


    (including Ephedrine, Amphetamines, and Cocaine) are used to heighten the competitive edge, BUT… how much edge would you feel if it:

    • Causes anxiety and aggression
    • Gives you high blood pressure
    • Makes your heart work so hard that you have a heart attack or stroke (even at your age!) or stroke

    More than 60 stimulants are banned in-competition


    (human growth hormone) may make muscles and bones stronger and recover faster, BUT… it is not only your muscles that get bigger. Using hGH may lead to:

    • Acromegaly – protruding forehead, brow, skull and jaw – which can’t be reversed
    • An enlarged heart that can result in high blood pressure and even heart failure
    • Damage to your liver, thyroid and vision
    • Crippling arthritis

    hGH is on the list of prohibited substances and methods


    some athletes try to cheat the system by using diuretics and other substances to cover-up the signs of using banned substances. The side effects can definitely affect your ability to compete and train. You may:

    • Become dizzy or even faint
    • Become dehydrated
    • Get muscle cramps
    • Have a drop in blood pressure
    • Lose coordination and balance
    • Become confused and moody
    • Develop cardiac disorders


  • In addition to the health risks, if you are caught doping, you could also face consequences that may jeopardise your career.


    Sanctions for an anti-doping violation can include a ban: 

    • From involvement in any sport (competing, coaching, etc.)
    • Up to 4 years for first offence
    • Life ban possible for repeat offences

    Any sanction you receive will be published!



    What is the default period of ineligibility for anti-doping violations?

    For those who use prohibited substances to cheat, the period of ineligibility will be four years.

    Will it always be four years for anti-doping violations?


    How is a period of ineligibility reduced from four years?

    Type of violation 

    Not all anti-doping violations carry the sample penalties (see below for the range of sanction according the type of violation)

    Type of substance

    If a substance is specified the default is two years unless FIBA can show that you intended to cheat.

    No Fault or Negligence

    If you can demonstrate that you had No Fault or Negligence in the intake of a prohibited substance, a ban will not be imposed.

    No Significant Fault or Negligence

    if you can demonstrate that you were Not Significantly at Fault or Negligent, depending on your degree of fault, the minimum sanction is a reprimand and a maximum of two years.

    Taking prohibited substances or using prohibited methods are not the only doping offences! See the full list here.

    Financial Consequences

    The FIBA Disciplinary Panel may decide that you may have to return any prize money or impose other financial sanctions.

    An anti-doping violation may be a violation of your contract with your club and your club may be able to terminate your contract without paying you anything. 

    If you are banned you will not be able to find a new club during the ban and you may find it very difficult afterwards. Your sponsors may also drop you.