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Athlete's oxygen just gas.

Athlete's oxygen just gas

An exhausted football player runs to the sidelines, puts a mask over his nose and mouth and gulps a few breaths of pure oxygen before returning to the field. But time out: This increasingly common practice, rooted in coaches' and athletes' belief that oxygen accelerates recovery from fatigue between bouts of intense aerobic activity, provides no real benefit, according to new research in the July 14 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.

David Winter Jr. and his colleagues at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas compared the effects of 100 percent oxygen versus room air on members of the Dallas Sidekicks, a professional indoor soccer team. The athletes performed a standardized exercise regimen to the point of exhaustion, then received one or the other gas for 4 minutes and resumed exercise. Researchers monitored blood lactate levels (an indication of muscle fatigue), heart rate and oxygen uptake and found no difference between the two groups. Winter doubts there's any harm in the practice, but he says players would do better walking along the sidelines than sitting on a bench sucking oxygen.

The practice may well continue in some sports, he adds, because players think it works--and because companies often provide the oxygen free in exchange for bench seats.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 15, 1989
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