Knowing what I know, I just had to write this blog. After speaking to numerous individuals who have damaged their health through exercise, I wanted to show just how backwards things really are. As athletes we are always pushing our physical limits. While this can lead to amazing achievements, there is a hidden side of all this madness. Looking back over the last 10 years, all of my medical visits were because of cycling. Despite my complaints of brain fog, and feeling somewhat tired, I always received the false affirmation that nothing was wrong. I was, as noted by my doctors “The healthiest person in their practice.” Now knowing better, there really was underlying issues that were simply overlooked. Compared to most people today, it’s not that hard to get stereotyped. As long as you look like you are in good shape, exercise regularly, and eat somewhat healthy, you will fit that mold. Looking back after drinking the cool-aid for many years, all the health ailments I experienced were warning signs that something was wrong that went undetected. Now knowing the cumulative effects of stress, I regret leaving my wellbeing in the hands of pill pushers. Here are a few interesting stats to think about. If you complete a marathon, medical tests have shown that the immune system takes a hit for up to a week after the race. Not just a little hit either, you are 6x more likely to get sick. Unfortunately it does not stop there. For all the ultra marathoners proving to social media how hardcore they are, they are starting to document a 50% higher cancer risk of individuals who have competed in some of the most grueling events. Not hardcore enough for you? Let’s raise the stakes. Been battling an illness, but cant afford to stop training?? Look up myocarditis. Myocarditis can stop your heart while you are exercising, causing you to DIE! Now that’s hardcore!! Kind of makes that little medal, and a few bucks all worth the hundreds of hours training doesn't it? We need to find ways to protect the athlete from themselves.
What is the answer to all of this madness? Perhaps we can take a page from the real animals. Equestrian or horse racing has a rule package that could solve most of these problems. You see, before they even allow a horse to race, the horse has to be examined by a licensed veterinarian. There is a complete physical, and even a drug test before any horse can compete. Talk about leveling the masters playing field!! If any horse fails the physical, it is simply not allowed to race. Lets take a look at the rulebook:
1. Horses and/or ponies competing at a Licensed Competition are subject to examination by a licensed veterinarian
who must be appointed by the Administrator of the Equine Drugs and Medications Program. Said appointed veterinarian,
with the approval of the Administrator, may appoint a technician to perform certain duties under this Rule.
The examination may include physical, urine, blood tests and/or any other test or procedure at the discretion of
said veterinarian necessary to effectuate the purposes of this rule. Said veterinarian may examine any or all horses
and/or ponies in a class or all classes in a competition or any horses and/or ponies entered in any class, whether
in competition or not, if on the competition grounds, or any horse and/or pony withdrawn by any exhibitor within 24
hours prior to a class for which it has been entered.
2. Whether a horse and/or pony is in competition or not, refusal to submit the horse and/or pony for examination or to
cooperate with the veterinarian or his agents constitutes a violation and subjects the responsible person to penalties
If these types of rules were put in place by the big sanctioning bodies, the most reckless athletes could at least have someone looking after their wellbeing besides the typical uninformed primary care physician. The insurance for most of these events is sky high for the promotor as it is, but just think how much fun it will be when your health insurance gets pushed to it's limits while you are trying to find out why your body stopped working properly. This just shows how backwards things are, where an animal gets better treatment than humans.