Sample Collection Procedures
One of the principal means of deterring and detecting doping is through the collection of urine and blood samples.
The sample collection process can be broken down into steps as detailed below.
View WADA's doping control procedures video below for a five-minute overview of the current international sample collection procedures.
Athletes may be selected for sample collection at competitions, training camps, at their home or at any other location throughout the year, with no advance notice.
The athlete will be notified of his/her selection for doping control by a CCES chaperone or CCES doping control officer and informed that a urine and/or blood sample will be collected. The athlete will also be informed of his/her rights and responsibilities. The athlete reads and signs the athlete selection order and then reports to the doping control station.
What is in-competition testing versus out-of-competition testing?
In-competition testing involves collecting samples from athletes at events such as a national championships, football and/or hockey games.
Out-of-competition testing involves collecting samples from athletes at their homes, training locations, or training camps.
How are athletes selected and notified for in-competition testing?
Athletes are chosen for in-competition testing as a result of a finishing position, a random selection method, or in some cases, a targeted test. A chaperone or doping control officer (DCO) approaches the athlete after the event to present the athlete selection order.
How are athletes selected and notified for out-of-competition testing?
Athletes may be selected for out-of competition testing anywhere and at any time during the year. This means that the tests are unscheduled and athletes will not know they are going to be tested until an authorized DCO arrives at their training venue, residence, or any other location, and presents them with an athlete selection order.
What happens if an athlete refuses to participate?
Effective doping control requires the cooperation and participation of all athletes. A refusal or failure to comply with doping control procedures, without sufficient cause, may constitute an anti-doping rule violation.
Once notified, you must report to the doping control station immediately. If necessary, you can request a delay in reporting for a valid reason. Valid reasons include:
- Competing in further events;
- Participation in a victory ceremony;
- Fulfillment of media commitments;
- Performing a warm down;
- Obtaining necessary medical treatments;
- Locating a representative and/or interpreter;
- Obtaining photo identification; or
- Completing a training session.
If you are granted a delay in reporting to the doping control station, or a leave from the doping control station, you will be accompanied by a chaperone. Once at the doping control station, the DCO will explain the sample collection process to you and give you the opportunity to ask questions
When the athlete is ready to provide a sample, he/she selects an individually sealed collection vessel. The athlete is responsible for retaining control of the collection vessel at all times until the sample is sealed.
In the washroom, the athlete washes his/her hands with water.
The athlete provides a urine sample of at least 90 ml in the presence of a chaperone of the same sex. To ensure the chaperone has an unobstructed view of the passing of the sample, the athlete must disrobe from mid-torso to mid-thigh.
The athlete will be asked to remain seated and relaxed for at least 10 minutes before undergoing venipuncture.
Similar to the urine collection, the athlete will be asked to select the blood collection equipment to be used for the session from a number of available kits (including Berlinger blood kit, Vacutainer blood tubes, needles, etc.). They must also inspect the equipment and verify the sample code numbers.
The blood collection officer will ask for the athlete’s non-dominant arm, apply a tourniquet to the upper arm, and clean the skin at the puncture site.
Once this is complete, the blood collection officer will draw blood from the athlete and fill each Vacutainer blood tube with the required volume of blood. At the completion of the blood draw, the collection officer will place the Vacutainer tubes into the Berlinger A and B bottles.
During this phase of sample collection, the representative may participate actively in the process as designated by the athlete.
Pre-packaged Kit Selection
The athlete selects a pre-packaged kit which is used to contain, identify and secure the sample. If the athlete and the DCO are not satisfied with the pre-packaged kit, the athlete can select a different kit.
Recording of the Sample Code Number
The athlete opens the kit and removes the contents from the cardboard box. The athlete and the DCO verify that the sample code numbers on the bottles, on their lids and on the cardboard box are consistent. The DCO records the sample code number on the doping control form.
Sealing the Sample
For urine, the athlete pours the minimum volumes of urine into the “A” and “B” bottles, and seals the bottles by tightening the lids as directed by the DCO. The athlete inverts the bottles to ensure there is no leakage. For blood, the athlete seals the bottles by tightening the lids as directed by the DCO.
Check Specific Gravity (urine only)
The DCO tests the specific gravity of the athlete's urine sample to confirm it satisfies laboratory ranges. If the reading is outside the specified ranges, the athlete will be required to provide an additional sample.
Recording of Substances
The DCO asks the athlete to declare any prescription or non-prescription medications, nutritional supplements and any other substances taken within the past seven days. This information is recorded on the doping control form and will be used by the laboratory for analytical purposes.
Completing the Paperwork
The athlete reviews the form to ensure that the recorded information is accurate and complete. The athlete signs the doping control form declaring that he/she is satisfied with how the procedures were carried out. If the athlete is not satisfied with the doping control procedures used for the sample collection, he/she may provide comments on the doping control form. The athlete receives copies of the athlete selection order and doping control form, and should retain them for a minimum of six weeks in the event of an adverse analytical finding.
The athlete's sample is packed and sealed into a transport bag, which is sent by secure chain of custody to a WADA-accredited laboratory. Upon delivery, the laboratory will verify that the sample has been securely transported and that the contents match the enclosed documentation. The “A” sample is analyzed and the “B” sample is securely stored.
Notification of Test Results
RTP athletes who use ADAMS can find out the results of their tests online. The result will usually be updated within a few weeks of the sample collection. If the athlete's sample produces an adverse analytical finding, also known as a positive test, he/she will typically be notified within three to four weeks of the date of sample collection.