March 24, 2005

The Next Big (Banned) Thing?

While we're on the topic of drugs (again), here's a story from this summer that I completely missed. Apparently female swimmers from Stanford were seen wearing patches on their shoulders at the U.S. Olympic trials, and it kicked off quite a commotion in the NCAA.

The patch is apparently the LifeWave Energy Enhancer, described by the maker as containing "only amino acids and water-based solutions." A slippery-sounding description — but maybe it's only protecting the company's intellectual property. In the end, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency found nothing wrong with the patches.

Here's another interesting quote from Dave Schmidt, president of LifeWave:

I can understand why coaches or athletes would have questions, because this technology is very new, very different. I think it's a very good thing for sports. It's a way for athletes to improve their performance and not endanger their health.

Well, it's debatable whether substances are banned because they endanger athletes' health. My bet is, if LifeWave Energy Enhancers have a significant performance-enhancing effect, they will be banned. If they don't have any effect, then everybody will stop using them. Either way, I don't think LifeWave is going to get rich selling these things to Olympic athletes.

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