Professor to examine anti-doping in sport in public lecture
The lecture, which will get underway at 6pm on Wednesday 3 June in the University’s Rose Bowl building, will see Professor Backhouse examine the limitations of the current detection-deterrence approach for making sport drug free and suggest a focus on preventive, system-based approaches.
Speaking ahead of the lecture, Professor Backhouse explained: “Doping in sport is not a recent phenomenon. Athletes have taken performance-enhancing substances since time immemorial and doping continues to threaten sport by violating its underpinning values. Put simply, it is against the rules.
“Most recently, this threat has been fortified by serious allegations of systematic doping in track and field athletics in Russia and, closer to home, 45 athletes and/or athlete support personnel are known to have committed anti-doping rule violations.
“In this lecture I will highlight the importance of reframing our approach to doping prevention by shifting the discourse from ‘anti-doping’ to ‘clean sport’. The challenges of doping in sport cannot be met without engaging key stakeholders, and the public at large, in a renewed enthusiasm for genuinely preventive, system-based, approaches. We have an opportunity to develop innovative and novel clean sport education programmes that can provide collaborative solutions to one of sport’s most pernicious challenges.”
Susan Backhouse is Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Nutrition and Head of the Centre for Sports Performance in the Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure at Leeds Beckett University. She is a British Psychological Society Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist and a Health and Care Professions Council Practitioner Psychologist.
In 2005, Susan was awarded a Promising Researcher Fellowship to work alongside Dr Paddy Ekkekakis in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Iowa State University. Inspired by her voluntary role with UK Athletics’ Anti-Doping Policy and Support team, she submitted a funding bid to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to undertake a systematic literature review. The review’s findings initiated a pioneering programme of research on the social psychology of drugs in sport and established Leeds Beckett University as a global research leader in the anti-doping field. Susan’s collaborative approach to research has founded links with internationally renowned doping in sport researchers and prominent sporting bodies, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Rugby Football Union, UK Anti-Doping, UK Athletics and the International Association of Athletics Federation.
In 2012, Susan was invited by the European Commission to join its expert working group on doping prevention, giving rise to EU-wide recommendations on the prevention of doping in recreational sport. In 2014 she became a member of UK Anti-Doping’s Research Steering Committee and she convened the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Clean Sport Interest group.
Professor Backhouse is currently working with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to explore the use of performance and image enhancing substances in male adolescent rugby union players.