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Ronaldo's doctor denies allegations

Brazil national team doctor Jose Luiz Runco on Wednesday denied doping concerns regarding medical treatment received by AC Milan star Ronaldo.

sports Updated: Sep 13, 2007 12:50 IST

Brazil national team doctor Jose Luiz Runco on Wednesday denied doping concerns regarding medical treatment received by AC Milan star Ronaldo.

Runco has denied that Ronaldo, who has been sidelined with a left thigh injury since July, has been subjected to the controversial growth factor therapy which is known as "blood spinning."

Ronaldo travelled to Rio de Janeiro last Friday to be examined by Runco, a specialist who has treated the player throughout his sporting career.

It had been reported that Runco had suggested that Ronaldo follow this treatment, which is illegal in Italy.

"There was confusion because the day that Ronaldo came (to the clinic) there was another player here, Maxi (from Flamengo), who was following the growth factor therapy. There was a mix-up when the news reached Italy," Runco was quoted as saying in the press.

The controversial technique involves collecting the patient's blood, treating it and reinjecting it into the body to speed up recovery naturally.

A May 2005 New Scientist article on the practice explained: "... small samples of a patient's blood are centrifuged to discard red blood cells and concentrate the platelets into platelet-rich plasmas (PRPs).

"When the platelets are concentrated to typically five times their normal level, calcium and the enzyme thrombin are added to the mix, which makes the platelets coagulate to form a clot-like gel.

"The platelets then start releasing the natural growth factors (NGFs) that accelerate healing, just as they would in a natural wound, but at five times the usual concentration. The gel can be applied to a wound or injected into the site of an internal injury."

The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), which already bans the concentration, storage and re-injection of an athlete's own red blood cells because of the practice's oxygen-boosting effects, has in the past advised caution over blood spinning.

In its Thursday edition, however, French newspaper Le Monde reported that the Italian Olympic Commitee (CONI) could open an investigation into the treatment received by Ronaldo.

Runco meanwhile insists that it could not be considered as doping.

"Growth factor (blood spinning) is already a global technique which has been used for the past six to eight years, and it has never been considered as possible doping."