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Paralympic Athletes Try to Get a Performance Boost By Hurting Themselves

• Colin Lecher via PopSci.com
 

We've heard of odd rules put in place (marijuana use comes to mind) to keep Olympians and Paralympians from gaining an unfair advantage, but this is odd and more than a little scary: Against regulations, some Paralympians may physically hurt themselves--maybe to the point of breaking a bone--in order to get an edge in competition.

The BBC interviews an athlete who shocked himself as a way of "boosting," as it's called; injuring yourself, the theory goes, can increase blood pressure or heart rate, and thus enhance performance. Unlike their Olympic counterparts, those with spinal injuries don't automatically increase their blood pressure while competing. Instead, some try to induce it artificially. One says a common way is "clipping off a catheter to let the bladder fill."

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