Esports Doping: An Overview

esports doping overview legalEsports is on the rise, and so is the esports doping problem.

Esports Performance Enhancing Drugs

Endurance athletes (i.e., swimmers, cyclists) typically use performance enhancing drugs to hasten recovery times and increase stamina. Esports athletes, on the other hand, want to increase reflexes and improve concentration; so, they experiment with behavior modification drugs, like Ritalin and Adderall. Stimulants are also popular among gamers looking for a pharmaceutical edge.

Are There Formal Esports Anti-Doping Programs?

In 2015, a Counter-Strike player fessed up to using Adderall for a tournament. In response, the Electronic Sports League (ESL) — a leading event producer — cobbled together an anti-doping initiative, adopting WADA’s 2015 banned substances list, which includes everything from anabolic steroids to cannabis to prescription drug agents. The ESL enforces the bans by conducting random saliva tests at events.

Lars Mortsiefer of Germany’s National Anti-Doping Agency explained that his group supports “the ESL in education and doping prevention.” Though he went on to caution that yes, “NADA can help esports implement these anti-doping rules, but it can only happen when a clear set of rules has been created.”

Esports Doping: Know The Banned Substances List and Secure TUEs

Recently, an executive at the Esports Integrity Coalition addressed doping. He reminded attendees that the industry’s growth is, in part, contingent on how it handles the issue. But some people wonder: Is this anti-PED push a PR creature that lacks enforcement teeth? Time will tell.

In the meantime, players should familiarize themselves with the ESL’s banned substances list. People with conflicting, but legitimate, prescriptions should secure TUEs — therapeutic use exemptions — from their doctors, to avoid censure.

Kelly / Warner Law works with esports athletes, teams, leagues, and sponsors. Get in touch any time.

Article Sources

(, D. W. (n.d.). Anti-doping efforts still in their infancy in eSports | Sports | DW | 21.07.2017. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from

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