Beyond Consent? Paternalism and Pediatric Doping

Beyond Consent? Paternalism and Pediatric Doping / Mike McNamee. - (Journal of the Philosophy of Sport36 (2009) 2; p. 111-126)

  • DOI: 10.1080/00948705.2009.9714751


In this essay, I argue that the issue of pediatric/adolescent doping is one that merits serious philosophical attention. I consider whether an adolescent who is legally competent to consent to medical pharmacologies such as contraceptive pills ought to be allowed to consent to doping products. I first discuss issues of vulnerability and exploitation of adolescent athletes that might underwrite a soft paternalistic response. I go on to argue that the harms attendant to doping, as opposed to the regulated use of the medical profession to prescribe oral contraceptives, are of a potentially greater magnitude to the successful adolescent patient/sportsperson themselves in contrast to therelatively well known risks of contraception. I also argue that the complexity of the weighing of potential harms and benefits are such that informed consent cannot be reached by adolescents. Moreover, given the public prominence of the WADA antidoping legislation, and the general public support for them, there will necessarily be a lack of transparency in the potential consent process, which undermines any audit for the accountability of the consent process. I conclude that Gillick competence ought not, therefore, to be viewed as a precedent for pediatric or adolescent consent to doping and that the “weak” or “soft” paternalistic prevention of doping is justified.

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Dissertation / Thesis
19 January 2012
McNamee, Michael John
United Kingdom
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Swansea University
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Treatment / self-medication
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Scientific article
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30 August 2021
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1 September 2021
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