Legal or Illegal
The History and Types of Blood Doping:
How it Works: When an athlete blood dopes they are increasing the number of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the lungs and muscles so by increasing the amount of red blood cells in the body it is also building the endurance of the athlete which gives them a clear advantage.
Training at Elevation: When an athlete trains at high altitudes the body works at maximum cardiac output because it is not use to the low levels of oxygen. The body adapts to having to work so hard to carry oxygen to all the muscles and the lungs of the body by producing more red blood cell. The athlete then sleep at normal elevation and repeats the process the next day. After training for such a long period of time and substantially increasing the athletes endurance the athlete competes against competitors who have been training at regular level ground. The competitor who has been blood doping has a major advantage with their "amazing" endurance. Although its natural its giving athletes an unfair advantage compared to those they are competing against. Legal or Illegal?
Altitude Chambers: Other methods of blood doping include using an altitude chamber to have the same effect that I explained above with less work. Athletes will sleep in the chamber for a while gradually increasing their red blood cells. This gives them the same advantage that was mentioned earlier without having to train at high elevation or travel to an area of high terrain. (see picture above for an example of an altitude chamber.
Injections: Injections are used by blood doping athletes to give themselves more red blood cells. The most common injection under the topic of blood doping is EPO (Erythroprietin). EPO regulates the production of red blood cells so when you inject EPO into your body it increases the production of red blood cells.
Cases of Blood Doping
The UEFA (Union of European Football Association) made their blood doping rules more strict last year having players take many tests before participating in large European competitions like the UEFA Champions League. The Bundesliga have started the discussion about tightening the leash on blood doping in the German league. To read more about this click on the link below.
Although not a football case an extremely popular one is the case of Lance Armstrong a professional bike rider. Armstrong had major success in riding winning many awards and races including two Tour de France's one of the largest awards in biking. Throughout his career people had been suspicious about him blood doping but he never admitted that he cheated to the public until 2013. Armstrong admitted to have injected Epo and used other performance enhancing drugs throughout his career to help him in his races. This confession resulted in stripping many awards from Armstrong including his 7 tour de Frances titles. To see more about the investigation and drug abuse from Lance Armstrong click on the link below.