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UKA Statement

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29 November 2019

Clinical Approach to Thyroid Disease in athletes statement:

British Athletics has maintained good medical governance standards in relation to its approach to thyroid disease in athletes and Thyroxine is prescribed only when there is a medical need.

In 2014 we convened a clinical group comprising British Athletics doctors, the English Institute of Sport and an Endocrine specialist doctor and member of the British Thyroid Association to ensure appropriate clinical governance and develop guidelines for the investigation and treatment of hypothyroidism in athletes. UK Anti-Doping were also represented at this forum.

In addition, we have ongoing discussion with other medical colleagues, including Endocrine specialists, to ensure maintenance of these high standards in the treatment of thyroid disease in athletes.

Our data shows that athletes have a similar pattern of thyroid function to an age-matched non-athletic population. Doctors screen athletes for a range of medical issues that may impact on athlete health as part of good medical care. This includes blood testing, menstrual health assessment, bone health and cardio-respiratory screening.

The British Athletics medical team urges WADA to make use of Thyroxine to be overseen by the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) process. This would help protect athlete health, ensure usage is for health requirements only and is correctly recorded by national anti-doping agencies.