Introduction: According to the International Olympic Committee's recommendations from the last XIII Olympic congress regarding organization of educational programmes for athletes, we conducted surveillance about knowledge and attitudes of the basketball players in 3 important topics: doping, nutrition and injuries. Since 2003 there is almost tripled number of doping controls in basketball and decreased number of positive doping cases, but basketball players are still in the group of risky sports. The aim of the surveillance was 1) to assess knowledge and attitudes about doping, nutrition and injuries 2) to establish whether there was an interest in educational programme 3) and if so, which areas should be addressed the first and what educational method is the most appropriate.
Methods: Randomly chosen players from every team participating in the regular season of the EuroLeague Women and the EuroChallenge in the 2010 season were included in the surveillance. The information were provided by players (male=63, female=20, age 25.7±4.2) through questionnaire. Standard descriptive statistics (mean value, frequency distribution) were used to describe knowledge and attitudes and Chi-square test and ANOVA were used to compare targeted groups. All statistical calculations were performed using SPSS with a significance level of 0.05.
Results: Players showed the highest correct answers in doping (50.0%), less in nutrition (37.3%) and the worst knowledge in sports injuries (26.8%). They expressed significant differences in knowledge about changes of the List of prohibited substances and knowledge about substances for recover energy muscles (p=0.013). Generally the athletes are the most interested in education about nutrition with mean value 3.30 (min.1, max.4) and the least interested in anti-doping rules and doping control procedure with mean value 2.87 (min.1, max.4). Education of athletes is reported as the best way of fight against doping. The significant differences exist between young and top career athletes within their concern about medicaments. Before consumption the drug middle aged players more frequently look for medical advice (p=0.011) and they believe that is more important to be informed about it (p=0.043).
Conclusion: Knowledge about doping, nutrition and injuries of European basketball players is not on a proper level. They showed clear interest for educational programmes. The first efforts should be concentrated on nutrition. They found Internet as the best platform for providing additional knowledge. From another side we have found that the educational work addressed to young athletes should be more focused on anti-doping issues because of existing slight indifference for this topic and since the education of athletes is reported as the best way of fight against doping.