Herald Sun

AFL super pills

FOOTY has entered the space-age with AFL stars swallowing computer-chip pills in a bid to win a premiership edge.

Western Bulldogs players have been taking hi-tech pills used by NASA astronauts that monitor internal body temperature.

The capsule — complete with coils, circuits, transmitters and a battery — sends a warning signal to a sideline computer when a player is over-heating.

The “radio pill” is expelled from the body within 36 hours of a game.

The pills, approved by AFL bosses as part of a league research study, cost $55 a pop.

Despite their image as blue-collar battlers, the Western Bulldogs are leading the hi-tech race.

The Bulldogs gave radio pills to as many as eight players at once in 16 matches last season, compiling crucial information on which players require the most rest and cooling.

They will use the technology again in Darwin for the round 12 clash against Port Adelaide and in other games played in hot weather.

“It’s vital in measuring the core temperature of a player,” Bulldogs’ sports scientist Dr Robert Aughey said yesterday.

“It helps with cooling strategies and determining which players to interchange.”

At least two other clubs are believed to have tested the CorTemp pills, used extensively in the US by gridiron clubs after a player died from heat-stroke.

The Dogs have joined forces with scientists from Victoria University, regarded as Australia’s leader in sports analysis and research.

Carlton has installed a $25,000 GPS treadmill at Princes Park.

“We use a GPS Judd wears in a harness under his guernsey to collect information including stoppages and accelerations,” spokesman Ian Coutts said.

“The data is loaded into the treadmill’s computer and a young player can use it as his program to become an elite midfielder.”

Footy has come a long way from screw-in boots and woollen jumpers.

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