We have just had our Paralympics in the UK, which is an international sport event, which athletes with physical and other disabilities participated in, this may include mobility disabilities, amputates, blindness and cerebral palsy.
There is a practice called boosting, which an athlete with spinal damage is capable of doing. Statistics indicates that a 30% of wheelchair athletes are doing boosting before the games. They do self harmto help increase blood pressure and performance enhancement without feeling any pain. The way this is done would be having the lower part of the body exposed to painful stimuli like, a full bladder, breaking a toe or sitting on sharp objects. Some would even go to the extreme of pinning their testicles.
Boosting for a Paralympians is the same as banned drugs or steroid to an able-bodied athlete.
The officials help the self harming athletes by telling them how dangerous this boosting can be for their health. Players would be required to have their blood pressures taken before the game and if it’s off the roof, then the punishment would be the disqualification of that player from the game. But if they have a doctor’s certificate explaining why their blood pressure is high, then they are still permitted to compete.
But interestingly, ever since the Beijing Paralympic games, no athletes have been tested positive for boosting.
The risk of these boosting practices is a stroke or a heart attack due to elevated blood pressure, but since some other athletes can’t feel anything, they thought that the risk is worth taking. This is an extremely dangerous and risky stunt to do but for others this is the cost of victory. They’d do a little self harm in exchange for a moment of triumph that they’ll remember forever.
Currently the number of Paralympians who had been through a programme that teaches the dangers of boosting is increasing. The programme covered all aspects of the athlete’s preparation. The athlete is fully aware that the Paralympics does not encourage boosting in any way, form or shape that can cause potential danger to the person.
With the number of interest and investment for the Paralympics that kept on increasing from other nations, it is believed the athletes would have the spot light that can help boost their performance without any self harm from boosting. These indeed are positive signs not only for the Paralympic games but for the Paralympic athletes as well.