Viagra For Soccer? Argentine Club Thinks It Will Help


Argentine club Unión de Santa Fe really wants to get past Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle in the first stage of the 2019 Copa Sudamericana. But are we really buying the club’s reasoning for using Viagra before the match?

The Unión-Independiente match will be played Wednesday evening at Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa, which is 9,350 feet above sea level. For comparison, Mile High Stadium in Denver is 5,280 feet above sea level, and I am writing this article at 5,328 feet. 

It makes sense for Unión to want to prepare its players for the lack of oxygen they’ll encounter during the match. 

So Unión club doctor Santiago Calvo is prescribing Viagra to all his players.

“There are two reasons high altitude leaves players lacking air,” Calvo said to Sol 91.05, a local radio station. “On the one side, there is less oxygen. For this, we have oxygen tubes to be used before the match, at halftime and after the game. 

“The other side is the pressure from the atmosphere. This increased pressure creates a vasoconstriction; the arteries become smaller around the lungs. This decreases the interchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide — and that is where the Viagra comes in. It widens the blood vessels around the lungs.

“No player is obligated to take (it), but it is not a banned medication.”

Using Viagra for soccer is actually nothing new for soccer teams in South America, particularly Argentina. La Albiceleste used a combination of paracetamol, caffeine and Viagra ahead of a 2018 World Cup qualifier in La Paz, Bolivia, which is more than 10,000 feet above sea level. It didn’t work; Bolivia won 2-0.

But are there any real benefits to using Viagra to combat altitude? Could taking Viagra for soccer work?

Yes, actually. To an extent.

Studies have shown Viagra can help athletes perform better at altitude. However, these studies have only really shown improved performance at extremely high altitudes — we’re talking 12,000 feet and higher. Effects drop off dramatically below that 12,000-foot threshold.

Unión, which already leads the two-legged affair 2-0, probably won’t see many benefits from taking Viagra, but it can’t hurt. Plus, the placebo effect could actually improve the players’ performances. 

Who knows, maybe a few of the players need Viagra to perform in the bedroom, and this is seen as an easier way to get access to the little blue pill. But erectile dysfunction isn’t anything to be ashamed about. Everyone should feel comfortable talking to their doctors and loved ones about problems in the bedroom or possible STDs and ignore the shame our prude societies try to cast upon those who actually enjoy sex (which is almost all of us, not that those who are asexual should be ignored). 

And now we’ve made it all the way through this story without a single joke about penises. For that, we apologize. 


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