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Professional Sports Team Embraces Pseudoscience

Here in Australia most professional sports teams have in place a salary cap regulated by the sports governing body. This means that they can only spend a fixed amount on players. In other countries in other sports there is no such salary cap, so the better clubs just go out and spend more money to buy a better player (and lead to the outrageous payments to players). That activity is somewhat restricted in those sporting codes in Australia that have this cap imposed. What this also drives is a better approach to sports science by those clubs: if you can’t spend more money to get better players, then spend more money to get more out of the players you have. In many areas I see Australia leading the world in sports sciences because of this.

There is, however, a downside to this. This can mean that sporting clubs start pushing the envelope and in some cases, that push may be too far and become illegal (arguably that is what underpinned a “drug” scandal in AFL a few years ago; they pushed the “supplements” so far as it went over the edge). It also means that while they try to embrace the “science” and evidence, they may push over into the pseudosciences.

It was disappointing this morning to see a professional sports team embrace the pseudoscience. In the news today is the NSW team for the State of Origin rugby league series against Queensland have got the players walking around barefoot because of the earthing (grounding) issue. Earthing/grounding is made up bullshit. It is a silly nonsensical claim that is physiologically impossible. This screenshot is from Channel 9

Proponents of earthing (grounding) claim that we can connect with the Earths negative surface charge by being barefoot in order to balance your internal circuitry and restore a lost electrical charge to help things like improving blood flow, reducing inflammation, reducing pain, treat cardiovascular disease and allow for better sleep. The theory is that free radicals which are lacking an unpaired valence electron, need to get those electrons from the Earth to balance out and restore our health. Any physicist will easily point out that the claims are totally bunk and the mechanism of balancing “electrons” is impossible (it would have to break some of the basic laws of physics if it was possible!).

There is nothing wrong with being barefoot and connecting with nature and using barefoot training drills. Just don’t make up bullshit to justify it.

Come on NSW, drop the pseudosceince. Queensland have now got my support for the State of Origin next week.

For more on Earthing psuedosceince see this: Earthing: The Silliest Health Scam Ever?

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