CQ Capras' coach Jason Hetherington opposes drugs in sport
DRUGS IN SPORT: There is no exception to the rule - every athlete should be on a level playing field.
Former rugby league international, NRL and State of Origin representative Jason Hetherington has always firmly believed there was no place for drug use of any kind in sport.
The Central Queensland Capras' coach was heartened by the Australian Crime Commission report into the use of performance enhancing drugs across several codes in Australia released earlier this week.
"I think it's something they have been working hard on even when I was playing - over the last 15 years they have been working hard to eliminate it ... the sooner they eliminate drug use from sport the better," 42-year-old Hetherington said.
Testing for performance enhancing drugs as well as recreational drug usage had become more stringent recently and technology to test more effectively would continue to develop, particularly in the light of Lance Armstrong's doping revelations, the coach added.
"I really applaud the drug agencies for upping the ante on testing and anti-doping rules, I believe there is no room for it in sport."
He remembered a few cases when he was playing top level football (1992-2002) where injured players became the exception and were cleared by medical staff to take otherwise banned substances to aid their recovery.
However, Hetherington thought there should be one rule for all.
"Allowing those exceptions to continue happening will only open a can of worms and you would get people trying to beat the system...it's not a matter of if but when you get caught - and you will especially now as it is a more high profile issue and they are testing more and more."
The Capras' coach believed drug-usage in sport was not common locally at a regional and club level.
"I think there is a higher percentage of it happening at an elite level where athletes are trying to get the edge - that's where a big percentage of it is happening," he said.
All players in the Capras squad complete a Health and Wellbeing programme where they are educated on issues surrounding taking certain substances and the repercussions.
"I'm not a pharmacist - I have never been interested in taking anything while playing nor am I now, but I believe what people take mostly is growth hormones, but I still don't really understand it.
"Players get a list pages long of everything that they cannot take or if they are for medical reasons they need to report it such as Ventolin - it's really complex and players could easily get caught out mistakenly."
Fortunately, Hetherington had never had to deal with player doping and he hoped he never had to in the future.
"I am totally anti-drugs. I always have been and players should be competing on a level playing field, hard work is as good as anything - without it wrecking your body," he said.