Did Brent Guerra admit to a doping offence on national tv?
Samantha Lane’s tweets described Before The Game’s interview with injured Hawthorn player Brent Guerra as ‘refreshingly honest’ as the journalist admitted to being ‘intrigued’.
The ‘intriguing’ and ‘honest’ interview was remarkable for Guerra’s statement that his acupuncturist had
re-injected Guerra’s blood into his injured hamstring after some, unspecified treatment to that blood, with the goal of speeding up the healing process and giving Guerra the chance of playing in a grand final.
It’s not hard to understand why a player would be prepared to try just about anything to play in a grand final.
However, in his desperation to play, on the basis on the information in the interview Guerra may have violated the anti-doping rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency, which also apply to the Australian Football League (as noted by the AFLPA here).
Section M2 of WADA’s Prohibited List (the master list of prohibited substances and methods) states that “Sequential withdrawal, manipulation and reintroduction of any quantity of whole blood into the circulatory system” is a Prohibited Method.
This rule was primarily intended to prevent blood doping of the kind endurance athletes, most famously cyclists, are notorious for, where large quantities of blood products are re-injected directly into the bloodstream to improve oxygen carrying capacity, or to disguise the use of other products that do so.
However, there is no doubt that the rule applies to re-injection of blood into muscle. The Herald Sun reported in 2009 that re-injecting blood products into muscle, used by Paul Chapman to assist his own recovery from a hamstring injury to play in the 2009 Grand Final, was now banned due to the updates to the WADA code.
Regardless of the effectiveness or otherwise of this treatment on Guerra’s injured hamstring, or the fact that it is extremely unlikely to have had endurance-boosting effects, rules are rules, and they exist for very good reasons.
Blood doping, were it ever to be used in the AFL, would be effective, and would corrupt the game in the same way it has corrupted other sports.
Guerra’s comments should be referred to ASADA, the local branch of WADA, for further investigation.
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