USADA carries out urine and blood sample collections, completes paperwork, and prepares and sends the samples to a lab accredited by WADA. The sample collection process is in line with the Code and International Standard for Testing & Investigations.
Sample Collection Process
The sample collection process is safe and relatively comfortable for fighters. USADA makes sure maximum sample integrity is maintained. This is a standard procedure that starts with notification of the fighter to shipment of the sample to the lab.
Fighters subject to USADA drug testing may have to take a test in- and out-of-competition. The procedures for giving and processing a sample collection are similar during out-of-competition testing. The process starts with notifying the fighter that he needs to provide a sample. This may happen with or without notice and at any site or time. A USADA Doping Control Officer (DCO) or USADA chaperone informs the fighter of their selection. He is told his rights and responsibilities and asked to provide photo ID. After that, the fighter remains under observation.
When he’s ready to provide a sample, he chooses a sealed sample collection vessel, checks that it has not been tampered, and is asked to wash his hands with only water before opening the container. The container is collected and sent for processing.
Blood testing is carried out in addition to urine testing because some substances aren’t always detected in urine. In addition, blood samples are used for a biological passport. This process, known as longitudinal data collection, is in place to monitor specific bio markers over a period of time to detect the use of testosterone or other performance enhancing substances.
For blood testing, fighters select security kits, a vacutainer kit, and accessory kits and check that they’re in order. Accessory kits contain a straight and butterfly needle. Vacutainer kits include vacutainer tubes used for blood collection, and security kits contain bottles used to ship the sample to the lab.
Fighters remove the red ring and shrink wrap from the bottles. They place the lid on the table with the open end up. About 15-16 mL is drawn. The amount drawn does not have an impact on performance.
In brief, this is how USADA tests for testosterone in fighters.