EPO? Remember EPO?

August 29, 2007

Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta died Tuesday. He was 22.”

Anyone remember how EPO first reared it’s most ugly head in bike racing? Mysterious heart attacks in otherwise young and highly cardiac-fit athletes. EPO (erythropoietin) is a naturally occurring substance that promotes the development of red blood cell precursors. More red blood cells, more oxygen carrying capacity and you get improved performance in aerobic sporting activities. You also, apparently, run the risk of turning your blood into sludge (that’s a technical term) and causing your heart to stop working in the middle of the night if you overdo it.

The obvious inconsistency with the soccer player (footballer for non’Muricans) is that he died on the pitch, not in his sleep.

Nevertheless, remember how cyclists and fans started complaining that other professional sportsmen were involved in Operation Puerto? (Leading to an official denial.) It doesn’t take much to see that EPO would be a nice little help for a soccer player. In fact of the “team” sports this is probably the top suspect for EPO-dopers.

This could be a mysterious virus or congenital defect. Could be.

Update 09/10/07: One conclusion from the ME is a congenital defect, an article on goal.com reviews the issue.

3 Responses to “EPO? Remember EPO?”

  1. nosugrefneb Says:

    Certainly not out of the question for it to be drug-related, but of course this happens relatively often to world-class athletes while they’re performing. It could be anything: hyperlipidemia, cardiomyopathy, history of infection…

    But yep, probably EPO or something similar. 🙂 It’s strange, though, if it was EPO-related, that after three days in the hospital he still died. I’ve not had experience with it, but it seems treating hyperemia would be a relatively quick fix and impossible to miss.


  2. bikemonkey Says:

    Okay this is getting freaky.

    Here’s another heart stoppage on the pitch, and another.

    The cycle fans have heard all this before.

    Again, the on-the-pitch thing is very different from the woke-up-dead that the cyclists were experiencing but…


  3. bikemonkey Says:

    A brief history of sudden soccer deaths. Also see the Wikipedia on football deaths.


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