The ice­men cometh! BY TONY ADAMS

Sharks’ rad­i­cal treat­ment has them chilled out and primed for a tilt at his­tory

Rugby League Week - - News -

CRONULLA HOPE TO lit­er­ally freeze Mel­bourne out of the grand fi­nal us­ing a high-tech ma­chine that’s been low­er­ing play­ers’ bod­ies down to a stag­ger­ing mi­nus 150 de­grees Cel­sius.

A host of Sharks stars in­clud­ing Paul Gallen, Ben Barba, Sam Ta­gataese and Wade Graham have been us­ing the rev­o­lu­tion­ary treat­ment known as cryother­apy to re­cover from bruis­ing games in the fi­nals series.

Gallen missed the first game of the fi­nals with a back com­plaint, but af­ter sev­eral ses­sions in the cryother­apy cham­ber is back to his dev­as­tat­ing best and rar­ing to go in the grand fi­nal.

Play­ers spend only three min­utes in a freez­ing cham­ber but get amaz­ing ben­e­fits as their bod­ies are sub­ject to the ex­treme cold.

The arc­tic tem­per­a­tures are said to make the body pro­duce adren­a­line, aid­ing mus­cle re­cov­ery and speed­ing up the heal­ing of soft-tis­sue in­juries, which are very com­mon in rugby league.

The treat­ments are a part of ev­ery­day life in top US and Euro­pean sport, but very new to Aus­tralia.

US bas­ket­ball su­per­stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have used cryother­apy treat­ment to pro­long their ca­reers, while soccer me­gas­tar Cris­tiano Ron­aldo was so im­pressed with its ben­e­fits that he in­stalled a cham­ber in his house!

Le­ices­ter City, who stunned the sports world by win­ning the English Premier League ti­tle last sea­son, also used cryother­apy treat­ment to help them through their de­mand­ing 38-game sched­ule.

Neil Dunk­ley, a Syd­ney-based sports sci­en­tist and founder of Be­low Zero Cryother­apy, in­tro­duced the Sharks to the ben­e­fits of the treat­ment – and ad­mits they were a lit­tle scep­ti­cal.

“When they heard they were go­ing to be in a mi­nus 150 de­gree en­vi­ron­ment, there were some ner­vous looks,” he says.

“But once I ex­plained it was no worse than an ice bath, they were will­ing to give it a go.

FREEZE A JOLLY GOOD FEL­LOW Ben Barba, Jack Bird and Wade Graham make them­selves com­fort­able in the cryother­apy cham­ber as they search for any edge they can find in the quest for a maiden ti­tle.

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