World Painkillers put a strain on sport: Experts call for more information.
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Used too often, too easily available: The abuse of painkillers is a major problem in German professional and amateur sports. A broader education and greater transparency could improve the situation. This was the conclusion reached by sports politicians, sports physicians and other experts in the sports committee of the German Bundestag.
Tim Meyer, team doctor for the German national soccer team, confirmed that German sport has "a problem in the pain reliever sector". In professional and competitive sports, "improper use of painkillers" can be assumed, said Professor Dieter Leyk from the research group for performance epidemiology at the German Sport University in Cologne.
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At the end of the day it must be questioned whether the prescription-free availability of various preparations "makes long-term sense", explained the German Olympic doctor Bernd Wolfarth, head sports doctor at the Charite. It is important to put the "responsible use of painkillers in the foreground", demanded Andrea Gotzmann, CEO of the National Anti-Doping Agency NADA.
Eberhard Gienger, representative of the Union parliamentary group in the sports committee and former high bar world champion, asked whether pain killers should not be on the doping list. DFB doctor Meyer refused this for two reasons. On the one hand, there are no motor benefits for the athletes from taking painkillers, on the other hand, the administrative burden is huge if every headache tablet has to be declared as a doping agent.
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When comparing the sexes, Leyk said that women resort to pain medication more often, but there are no gender-specific differences in how long they take. There is a great need for action in terms of prevention and education for both men and women, said Leyk.
The sports committee had taken up the issue after a film by the ARD doping editorial team and the "Correctiv" research center published alarming research results last summer. Accordingly, plenty of painkillers should be thrown in in football, and many amateur players would regularly take active ingredients such as ibuprofen or diclofenac.
"What I have noticed in the last 14 years is that ibuprofen is being distributed like Smarties. For every little ouch there is virtually all-inclusive ibuprofen," ex-Bundesliga professional Neven Subotic said in the film.
Some associations have already reacted. The DFB is funding a study to find out how much pain reliever professionals and amateurs take. The German Handball Federation (DHB) has also commissioned sports scientist Ansgar Thiel from the University of Tübingen to conduct a study on the abuse of painkillers.
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