What is blood spinning?
Tiger Woods has admitted to undergoing blood spinning therupy for knee and Achilles injuries. What is it and is it legal?
Tiger Woods has admitted to undergoing blood spinning therapy for knee and Achilles injuries. What is it and is it legal?
In this report PA Sport explains in laymen’s terms exactly what it is and how it works.
WHAT IS IT?
Blood is removed from the body, spun in a centrifuge and reduced to a high-concentration platelet solution and reinjected into the body to act as a catalyst in the healing process. In sport, it is currently only allowed to use PRP to treat tendon and cartilage problems, not muscle tears.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The concentrated platelet solution contains growth factors pivotal in the repair and regeneration of tissues. These special proteins also help the healing process by stimulating growth.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
Subject to debate, with further research required. It is theoretical and controversial, with many positive results anecdotal. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association into the treatment of chronic Achilles problems found PRP compared with a placebo saline injection and “did not result in greater improvement in pain and activity”.
HOW ETHICAL IS THE PRACTICE?
It is a well-accepted practice which has been used for quite some time, including in the NFL and Major League Baseball. A problem would be foreseen if practitioners were to include the storage of blood or blood products. There is no suggestion this is currently happening.
IS IT LEGAL IN SPORT?
The practice, when “administered by intramuscular route”, is prohibited by the World Anti-doping Agency. A treatment to a knee or Achilles would be without such an approach and is currently therefore permissible in sport. However, WADA will be keenly watching the outcome of future research and this could change.
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