Enock M. Chisati1,2, Dorothy Undi1, Samuel Ulili1, Sarai Nkhoma1, Mathews Mlongoti1
- Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS), Blantyre, Malawi.
- Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA), Nairobi, Kenya
*Corresponding Author: Enock Chisati; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Use of performance enhancing substances (PES) is common among athletes with a worldwide prevalence ranging from 5% to 31%. There has been little knowledge of PES use in African athletes with no available data for Malawian football players. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of PESs use among elite football players in two super league teams in Blantyre, Malawi.
This was a cross-sectional study conducted in two super league football teams in Blantyre, Malawi. A modified standard questionnaire obtained from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Social science research package was administered to collect data from a convenient sample of 43 elite football players on the characteristics of participants, prevalence of PESs use and reasons for using PES. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and Chi-square test.
Out of 86 eligible football players, 43 with a mean age of 24 ± 4 years participated in the study. Many players (60%) had secondary education as their highest level of education and most players (86%) had played football for more than five years. Out of 43 participants, 39 (91%) had been using PESs while four (9%) had never used PESs. Out of 13 substances, caffeine (77%), herbal products (40%), and energy bars (40%) were the commonly used PESs while cocaine (2%) was the least used substance among the players. Improving performance was the most common reason (81%) why participants were using PESs followed by increase in lean body mass (35%).
The prevalence of PESs use among elite football players in two super league teams in Blantyre, Malawi is high. The most used PES are caffeine, herbal products and energy bars. Participants mainly use PESs for improved performance in football. Therefore, awareness among elite football athletes and stakeholders on adverse health effects of PES use should be promoted.
Key words: Prevalence, Performance enhancing substance, elite athletes, Doping, Football.