Thatscricket - News - Experts assail BCCI practice on age

Published: Thursday, February 1, 2001, 20:45 [IST]
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Mumbai: The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has taken a serious exception to the Board of Control for Cricket in India subjecting cricketers to X-ray tests to determine their real age.The BCCI is reported to have appointed a radiologist to keep a check on overaged cricketers playing for the under-16 and under-19 teams.The radiologist will decide the age on the basis of skeletal maturity as determined by the X-rays of the wrist, elbow and collarbone as appropriate."Medical X-ray examinations are very useful procedures when they are clinically justified. Age determination by X-raying bone joints is not a justified practice," AERB secretary Dr K S Parthasarathy said at an international conference on "Radiation Protection Measurements and Dosimetry: Current Practices and Future Trends" at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).Dr Parthasarathy, who is also the president of the Indian Association of Radiation Protection (IARP) and an international authority on radiation measurements, radiation safety in the application of radiation in industry, medicine and research, and atomic energy regulations in the country said that X-rays should not be performed for non-clinical reasons."An expert committee of the World Health Organisation stated that these procedures involve appreciable dose to growing tissues and should not be performed for non-clinical reasons unless absolutely necessary,'' he said. In 1979, Dr Parthasarathy said, the British Medical association strongly recommended that radiological examinations carried outsolely for administrative and political purposes are unethical.They instructed the General Medical Council to make the strongest possible representation to the United Kingdom government to ban these practices and finally UK discontinued such a practice."Current British regulations forbid X-raying hands of healthy children. The error inherent in the use of these skeletal techniques to determine age is reported to be plus or minus two years," he said."X-ray testing for cricketers by the BCCI for determining the age of cricketers is not a healthy practice," he told UNI. Dr Jill Meara, Public Health Physician, said that the accuracy of the technique is not sufficient to justify the radiological risk. ''Overall, it appears to be an unjustified practice," he said."Limited skeletal maturity data available in India indicate that the bone age determination by medical X-ray technique is unlikely to be very reliable. Using X-rays for any procedure not involving health benefit either to the individual or to the society as a whole is totally unjustified," he added. UNI

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