Patches to be sent to USADA for testing

Updated: July 31, 2004, 1:40 PM ET
Associated Press

STANFORD, Calif. -- Specially treated energy patches used by swimmers at the Olympic trials earlier this month will be sent to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for testing amid concerns the patches contain testosterone.

The president of the company that makes the LifeWave Energy Enhancer called the accusation ridiculous and said the patch contains only amino acids and water-based solutions.

"I can understand why coaches or athletes would have questions, because this technology is very new, very different," David Schmidt told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I think it's a very good thing for sports. It's a way for athletes to improve their performance and not endanger their health."

Officials with the anti-doping agency would not confirm they received the patches.

"It's our policy not to comment on current investigations," USADA spokesman Travis T. Tygart said Friday. "I can say that we're appreciative of those individuals or entities that come forward with information."

Six female swimmers at Stanford University wore the patches on their shoulders during the trials, held July 7-14 in Long Beach.

Only two of the women made the U.S. team -- sisters Tara and Dana Kirk in the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter butterfly, respectively.

Nonetheless, national team director Everett Uchiyama asked Stanford women's coach Richard Quick for samples, which he provided. Those samples were forwarded to the agency.

Quick, a three-time Olympic head coach who will serve as an assistant for the U.S. women's team in Athens, defended the patches as a new training device he began using earlier this year.

The patches are designed to electronically stimulate acupuncture points, inserting current into the body to help an athlete improve stamina, according to Schmidt. No substances enter the body, he said.

Schmidt said his Suwanee, Ga.-based company recommends using them on any of four acupuncture points: on the wrists, on the chest, around the knees and on the inside of the ankles.

He said a person's stamina improves within 10 minutes of using the product.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press