OK, enough talk about Lance Armstrong and his possible use of drugs or blood doping as a performance enhancer. It turns out some athletes in the Paralympics, which begins Wednesday in London, use pain as a performance enhancer.
Paralympics officials said Monday that, along with testing for banned drugs, they will be on the lookout for something called "boosting" among wheelchair athletes.
What is boosting? Pain.
In able-bodied athletes, physical exercise raises the heart rate and blood pressure, which helps you perform better during an event. Athletes with a severe spinal cord injury don't get that boost.
So, to get a rapid rise in blood pressure, some wheelchair athletes try to raise their heart rate and blood pressure by causing pain in the lower parts of their body, such as sitting on a sharp object, hitting their feet with a hammer or giving parts of their body an electric shock.