One of the questions at the Harvard symposium was about the ethical status of LifeWaves, the new technology that is designed to boost energy. There is no official WADA position on this one yet, but it is unlikely that it will be considered a method of doping. However ,it is performance enhancing and does offer a 'short-cut' to better performances. To that extent, one might argue (mistakenly) that is compromises the 'spirit of sport'. Here we have a further indication that there is a need for more joined-up thinking in the world of sport, about performance. In a paper I am due to have published in the Journal of Sport Sciences, I argue that it is necessary to ditch the anti-doping framework and replace it with a 'Performance Policy', which makes clear the connections between a range of technologies and how they challenge the ethical status of performance in sport. Here are some details about the LifeWave patches from The California Aggie:
"The product consists of two patches, which the company claims will boost energy by 20 to 40 percent, and contains a vague list of ingredients known as 'orthomolecular compounds.' The NCAA and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency tested the patches and found no illegal substances. The NCAA went a step further by announcing that the patches do not fall under the category of nutritional substances because nothing is ingested.
While LifeWave's patent is still pending, and no details can be given about the composition of the patches, it is important to note the overall trend that is taking place in sports: an increase in cases of performance-enhancing products or supplements on the market. The fact that athletes at the collegiate and professional levels are looking for any advantages they can gain over their opponents is a distressing sign.
Gone are the days when athletes gained their advantage by just working harder than their competitors. In today's era of sports, money and results are what matter and some athletes seem to be willing to accomplish their goals by any means necessary.
While very few collegiate athletes gain the notoriety that often accompanies professional sports, it is important to note that Davis youths admire UCD athletes. Youngsters often emulate what they see performers doing and it is not far-fetched to believe kids will start using supplements in their adolescent years when given their favorite athletes as examples of a product's success.
LifeWave seems to be the latest in a string of performance-enhancing products. With the rise of such products, athletes are often faced with the tough decision: losing the competitive edge or compromising their athletic integrity."
Of course, I totally reject the stance of this paper, but what's new!?