Tyrone star Sean Cavanagh has remarked he fears players may be taking illicit performance-enhancing substances without even being aware of it.

The 33-year-old backed decision of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to introduce blood testing of players this year. However, Cavanagh warned of a culture of leaning on shakes and supplements that may result in some taking a dangerous route. Cavanagh said nowadays there are too many proteins and branched-chain amino acids and he does not even understand half the stuff the boys are taking to be honest.

The five-time All Star-winning Tyrone Gaelic footballer remarked he would say there is probably a reasonable chance that some guys are may be on performance enhancing drugs. Cavanagh, who has captained Ireland in the International Rules Series, remarked he is not all that into it and he is still stuck in the Tracker bar and Jaffa Cake era. Cavanagh went on to add that some guys are hugely into it nowadays and so he would say probably is a chance, whether purposely or not, that there probably are guys that are playing that have something in the system that should not be there.

The Tyrone Gaelic footballer also said he believes there is that much available in terms of supplements and a lot of guys just aren’t educated enough to know what they can and can’t take. Cavanagh added there are that many things on the internet that are saying ‘batch tested’ and what not but it is a complete minefield at the moment.

Cavanagh also said he believes some players are “taking the chance” as far as doping is concerned and said he has been tested 10 to 15 times throughout his career.

In December last year, it was confirmed by the Gaelic Athletic Association that blood and urine testing for players will be introduced for the first time as part of the 2016 Anti-Doping program rolled out by Sport Ireland. It was remarked by Ger Ryan, the Chairman of the Medical Scientific and Welfare Committee (MSW), that blood-testing has been a fact of life for many athletes in the largest sports of Ireland for a number of years and it was inevitable that it would eventually be introduced to Gaelic games.

Ryan added the GAA has worked closely with Sport Ireland on this and the program that will be rolled out – while meeting with Sport Ireland’s requirements in this regard – has been designed taking careful consideration of the unique circumstances of our amateur players, their support personnel and our team and training structures. The MSW Chairman said the GAA had formulated a new four year Anti-Doping Education Strategy for all levels of the Association to complement its existing initiatives, and that the main focus of this in 2016 would be on senior inter-county panels and support personnel.

In 2015, 95 GAA players were tested as part of the anti-doping program. It was also recommended by the MSW that a concussion sub should not be introduced during games.

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