Sample Collection Process for Urine Testing

This page explains the sample collection process for standard urine collection. Athletes subject to USADA drug testing will be subject to both in- and out-of-competition testing. While this section shows a sample collection occurring in-competition, the process is similar for out-of-competition testing which is also depicted in the video to the left.

Sample Collection Process Steps

USADA's drug testing program allows for athletes to be selected for testing both at a competition (in-competition testing) or without any advanced notice (out-of-competition testing) which can occur at any time and at any location. Athletes will be notified of their selection for doping control, by a USADA doping control officer (DCO) or USADA Chaperone. At this time, the athlete will also be informed of their rights and responsibilities during the sample collection process.

Following notification the athlete will remain under continuous watch of the DCO or chaperone. If the athlete has been notified for in-competition testing, they must immediately report to the doping control station. Under certain circumstances a delay may be permitted by the DCO and only if they can be chaperoned at all times. Such circumstances may include:

  • Competing in further events;
  • Participation in a victory ceremony;
  • Fulfillment of media commitments;
  • Performing a warm down;
  • Obtaining necessary medical treatments;
  • Locating a representative and/or interpreter;
  • Obtaining photo identification; or
  • Completing a training session.

  • For out-of-competition testing, a safe, secure, and private location will be chosen as the doping control station where sample collection will occur. Paperwork may be started in the doping control station and the athlete may choose to eat or drink anything at their own risk while waiting to provide the sample. If the athlete has a representative with them, he or she will be able to accompany the athlete in the waiting and processing areas of the Doping Control Station.

    When the athlete is ready to provide the sample, they will be asked to select a sealed sample collection vessel from a choice of vessels. They should check and inspect the collection vessel to ensure that it has not been tampered with and will be instructed to rinse their hands with only water before opening the vessel. The athletes representative may also be present while providing the sample with the athletes permission and when agreed upon by the DCO.

    The athlete will be asked to provide a urine sample of at least 90ml under direct observation of a DCO or witnessing Chaperone of the same gender. In order for the DCO or chaperon to have a clear view of the sample being provided, the athlete will be asked to pull their shirt up to mid torso and pants down to mid-thigh. As soon as the athlete is finished providing the sample, the DCO or Chaperone will instruct the athlete to immediately secure the vessel with the lid.

    Provision of the sample in the case of a minor will require a few additional protocols. Please click here to read the policy on minor athletes.

    After the sample is secured, the athlete and the DCO or Chaperone will proceed back to the doping control station to begin the sample processing part of sample collection.

    The athlete will first be asked to choose a sample collection kit containing the bottle in which the sample will be sent to the lab. Similar to the way the vessel was chosen, the athlete will choose from a choice of sample collection boxes and ensure that the container is not damaged or tampered with.

    The athlete will open the sample collection kit and inspect the contents of the package. Both the DCO and athlete will ensure that all sample code numbers match on the bottles, lids and sample collection kit box.
    The athlete will then divide their sample between the B Sample and A Sample bottles and seal them. The DCO will not handle any of the equipment during the procedure unless requested to do so by the athlete. The athlete is to maintain control of your sample until the sample is sealed.

    Once the sample is sealed, the athlete will be asked to place the B Sample and A Sample bottles into plastic bags and into a polystyrene box.

    The DCO will check the specific gravity (concentration) of the sample. Additional samples may be requested if the sample is not within the required range.

    The DCO and Athlete will complete paperwork together to document the circumstances of the sample collection. Additionally, In accordance with the instructions on the Doping Control Official Record (DCOR), the athlete should declare any substance or medication they may have taken. They also should provide details of any Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) they may have.

    For information on medical declarations including Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) and the Declaration of Use please click here

    Finally, the athlete should include any comments on the athlete evaluation form and return to USADA.

    The athlete should check the entire DCOR thoroughly to ensure that theinformation is accurate and correct. They will check that their name is not on the form that goes to the laboratory.

    The laboratory reports all results based on the unique sample code numbers. The athlete should keep a copy in a safe place.

    The sample is then mailed by the DCO and sent to the lab for analysis in a transport bag, ensuring a secure chain of custody. For information on laboratory sample analysis please click here.