Novel Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment Speeds Healing - But Is It Blood Doping?

March 02 2009 / by Jeff Hilford / In association with Future
Category: Entertainment   Year: 2009   Rating: 2

Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment is making its way into the sports medical profession.  It's pretty straight-forward and basically takes a person's own blood, separates the red blood cells and the plasma and takes the resultant concentration of platelets and injects them back into an injury site to promote quicker healing.  Hines Ward's (Pittsburgh Steelers) recovery from a sprained medial collateral ligament in time to play in last month's Super Bowl brought attention to this new technique.

This type of treatment bodes well for faster healing from injury and possibly greater performance too but raises ethical questions in the world of professional sports.

In other endurance sports like cycling and cross country skiing this might be considered blood doping but since it is aimed at simply returning a player to the field quicker and not improving his pre-injury performance level it hasn't raised eyebrows yet.  Paul Mara of the New York Rangers was the most recent recipient of this technique.  Originally expected to miss 2-4 weeks or longer from a shoulder injury he made it back to the starting lineup in just 12 days.

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