In athletes, spinal cord injuries facilitate the illegal practice of boosting, say researchers.
Boosters use various techniques such breaking their toes, blocking their catheters and crushing their scrotums in order to get a cutting edge over their rivals, but expert say athletes with spinal injuries can do such things more easily.
Advertisement"This practice is very unique to individuals with high-level spinal cord injuries. An able-bodied person would not be able to do this," the ABC quoted said Dr. Yagesh Bhambhani, professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, as saying.
Boosting uses self-inflicted injuries to trigger autonomic dysreflexia, a condition that's considered a medical emergency when it happens by accident.
Although boosters can't sense the pain, it activates the sympathetic nervous system, causing risky rises in blood pressure.
"If you raise your blood pressure, your heart theoretically pumps more blood. If your heart pumps more blood, you get more oxygen. And if you get more oxygen, your performance is improved," said Bhambhani, who is author of a 1994 study that found boosting could improve wheelchair race times by nearly 10 percent.