Thankfully our sport, regardless of recent events is in a much better place than it was a decade ago. Systematic doping of entire teams is largely a thing of the past, but weak individuals and corrupt support staff still sadly exist, seeking to cheat and steal victories.
One very dangerous practice currently being abused by some individuals, is the administration of carbon monoxide into the body.
This highly deadly gas, occupies the sites on the haemoglobin molecule that normally bind with oxygen and is not readily displaced, forming the compound CarboxyHemoglobin.
The artificial performance gain occurs as the body recognises the lack of O2 in the blood because the Carbon monoxide replaces that of Oxygen in the haemoglobin molecule in a Red Blood Cell.
When the body responds to this continued low of oxygen by asking the kidneys to produce more EPO ‘naturally’ to counter the perceived low – thus producing more RBC’s.
This practice is not currently banned so unbelievably cannot be called doping, but it IS gaining an unnatural advantage over honest, natural athletes is unfair and against the honour of sport.
Due to the immense danger of the practice, we are calling for it to be urgently outlawed and mechanisms put in place to detect its abuse.
Carbon monoxide also acts as a vasodilator, widening of blood vessels but the danger exists as it blocks oxygen from getting into the body, which can damage tissues and result in death. The terrifying possible effects of the abuse of the silent killer is below:
Symptoms Associated With a Given Concentration of COHb
10% COHb – Heavy smokers can have as much as 9% COHb. Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure
15% COHb – Headache, tachycardia, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours
25% COHb – Nausea and serious headache. Headache, dizziness and nausea in five to ten minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
30% COHb – Symptoms intensify. Potential for long term effects especially in the case of infants, children, the elderly, victims of heart disease and pregnant women. Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes.
45% COHb – Unconsciousness
50+% COHb – Death in 2-3 breaths.