American football players, like other athletes, may have illnesses or conditions that require them to take particular medications. If the medication that an athlete is required to take to treat an illness or condition happens to fall under the Prohibited List, a Therapeutic Use Exemption will give the athlete the authorization to take the needed medicine. Athletes may apply for a TUE for any treatment involving a substance or method on the Prohibited List.
The following is an index of the substances and methods found in WADA’s List of Prohibited Substances and Methods.
TUEs are only granted by Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) — IFs, NADOs and Major Event Organizers (MEOs) — following a robust review process that is defined in the ISTUE; and, evaluation by three physicians specialized in sports medicine and/or other relevant specialties. Granted TUEs are subject to further evaluation by the relevant ADOs and WADA
All athletes that compete in sport at the international level (as defined by each International Federation) or the national level (as defined by each National Anti-Doping Organization) can apply for a TUE.
The criteria for granting a TUE are as follows:
1. The athlete would experience significant health problems without taking the prohibited substance or method;
2. The therapeutic use of the substance would not produce significant enhancement of performance;
3. There is no reasonable therapeutic alternative to the use of the otherwise prohibited substance or method;
4. The requirement to use that substance or method is not due to the prior use of the substance or method without a TUE, which was prohibited at the time of use.
For the TUE to be granted, all four criteria must be met.
An application to IFAF for grant of a TUE should be made as soon as the need arises (the IFAF Anti-doping rules, Article 4.4). For substances prohibited In-Competition only, the Athlete should apply for a TUE at least 30 days before the Athlete’s next Competition unless it is an emergency or exceptional situation TUE application form.