Sport supplement use among high school rugby players in South Africa: A scoping review

B. Harmse, H. Noorbhai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The use of sport supplements has increased for all types and levels of sport, with an estimated increase of 5.8% annually. Sport supplement usage and doping among high school athletes has increased over the years to meet the demands of the sports. Objective: This scoping review identifies the trends and gaps in current literature regarding sport supplement use among high school rugby players in South Africa. Methods: A search was conducted using six electronic databases, namely Oxford Academic, Emerald Publishing, ResearchGate, SABINET, PubMed and Google Scholar. The eligibility of the articles was determined by means of a PRISMA flow diagram with the following inclusion criteria: (1) research concerning supplement use among rugby players, (2) research concerning supplement use among high school rugby players. Five articles all comprising of cross-sectional study designs were included in this scoping review. Results: The prevalence of sport supplement use among adolescent rugby players ranged from 30% to 45%. Protein supplements (31% – 79%) were the most commonly identified supplement used among adolescent rugby players with the aim to improve sport performance as the most common reason for use. The internet (74%) and magazines (72%), followed by coaches comments (28% to 30%), were given as the most common sources of information. Conclusion: The use of sport supplements is increasing among high school athletes due to the belief that these substances will provide sporting performance benefits or enhance the competitive ‘edge’ of these athletes. Additional education regarding the safety of supplements is necessary to lower the incidences of doping among young athletes and avoid the adverse health effects that uncontrolled supplement use can cause.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSouth African Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • athletes
  • doping
  • ergogenic aids
  • nutrition
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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