Boosting “not on” says Aussie Paralympic team boss
Australia’s Paralympic team chief says the dangerous performance-enhancing method of boosting does not exist in his squad.
AUSTRALIA’S Paralympic team chief says the dangerous performance-enhancing method of boosting does not exist in his squad.
The practice, known medically as induced autonomic dysreflexia, sees athletes cause themselves physical pain to heighten adrenaline levels to aid output.
“It’s a banned method. It’s the same for us as anti-doping and all of our athletes go through a lot of education,” Australian chef de mission Jason Hellwig told reporters in London.
“Boosting is just not on. I would be exceptionally disappointed if I ever found out it was happening within an Australian program or within an Australian environment. I’m sure it’s not. It’s dangerous, fundamentally, and it’s not part of the way we go about things and our athletes know that.”
In able-bodied athletes, intense physical exercise automatically raises the heart rate and blood pressure, however athletes with a severe spinal cord injury don’t get that natural boost.
In order to produce a rapid rise in blood pressure there have been reports of Paralympians using extreme measures such as breaking bones, strangling testicles and enduring electric shocks.
More subdued methods include the use of tight leg straps or causing pain by filling the bladder to capacity.
“In terms of the wheelchair rugby competition I’m involved with, I don’t see it,” Australian athlete Greg Smith said.
“It doesn’t happen within our team, it’s never been discussed within our team.”
The five-time Paralympian who used to compete in athletics, said boosting is more common among track athletes.
“If I go back to my racing days it was something that was very visible to me,” Smith said.
“It’s a method that produces longevity in performance more than anything. When I was a wheelchair racing it was something that I definitely saw.”
He said no Australian athlete had ever used boosting to his knowledge.
The Australian team comments follow reports in London that 2012 Paralympic officials will be checking athletes for evidence of boosting, including the common method of breaking toes. – AAP