Sports doctor backs AFL's EPO testing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sports doctor backs AFL's EPO testing

By Roger Vaughan 18/05/2005 07:04:10 PM Comments (0)

Noted sports doctor Peter Barnes would be surprised if an AFL player was "stupid" enough to take EPO.

The Port Adelaide club doctor and former Australian cycling team medico said the league was right to introduce testing for the illegal blood booster.

The AFL will soon start testing for EPO, or erythropoietin, and will probably be checking for human growth hormone within a year.

Barnes, well-known for his anti-doping stance, was the doctor for Cycling Australia's elite program when EPO became a scourge of the sport internationally in the 1990s.

"Yes, it has the potential to be abused in midfielders and that's a good enough reason (to test for EPO)," Dr Barnes said.

"The chances of anyone having done it or seriously contemplated it is probably pretty small.

"We know drug abuse in footy is pretty minimal anyway.

"I'm sure EPO is a potential area of abuse, but in reality I would be surprised that they'd be so stupid."

He explained that EPO would only help a player's endurance, not his ball-handling ability or strength.

EPO became an abused drug in endurance sports, such as cycling, because it boosts the blood's oxygen capacity.

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