KUWAIT CITY, Feb 17, (KUNA): With firefighters — saving people from eminent danger — and extreme athletes — doing stunts that seemingly go against the rules of gravity — adrenaline becomes an essential hormone that electrifies muscle memory and enhances the senses. Adrenaline is the most powerful hormone rushing through the bloodstream intensifying strength of people when they face dangerous alarming situations, entering the thin line between life and death. On this focus; extreme sports athletes, a psychologist and a fireman all acknowledged in statements to KUNA that when the adrenal glands pump out adrenaline out of stress, fright, rage or a situation involving powerful emotions; blood rushes through the body, intensifying the actions of individuals releasing an adrenaline rush reinforcing them to overcome danger. The brain is obscured in the differentiation between danger and euphorically low danger, whether the “fight-or-flight response is generated from a reaction, exhilaration, facing fire or stunts; the brain reacts the same way and releases this rush,” said Dr Juliet Dinkha, a Psychologist Professor at American University of Kuwait (AUK). Nonetheless, different types of fear result in either extreme shortlasting rush or average adrenaline.
An entertaining thrill releases endorphins that interacts with the brain’s receptors which diminishes extreme pain and stress, causing less fear, whereas pure fear could help one not succumb to death, she added. Biologically, adrenaline causes contracted blood vessels, lungs expansion, racing heart rate and hypervigilance leading to better concentration and a razor-sharp memory. Dr Dinkha — also a licensed clinical psychologist — stated that conversely, the rush could cause high blood pressure and lack of sleep.
“If you do not get a rush, you are not challenging yourself,” said the doctor, in regards to those who are too familiar with getting into danger. The psychologist warned not to get used to an adrenaline rush because “the rush is a learned behavior, once you get it you would want it some more.” The brain’s memory evokes the first rush felt into chasing it which adds up to becoming an addiction risk.
She went on to explain different types of people who are after an adrenaline rush, which are either genetically or personality based. “Thrill-seeking individuals are prone to being more into risk-taking,” said the psychologist, pointing out that said individuals do stunts leading the brain into a state of emergency. Having an adrenaline rush is sometimes a requirement while carrying out tasks aimed at saving people’s lives, especially for firefighters on duty. “Hard to describe, but it feels like you have tripled your strength,” said Kuwaiti Firefighter Salman Qassem, who became a firefighter because he was saved by one, adding that adrenaline can save lives. When faced with danger, firefighters go beyond what they are normally capable of to save lives, said Qassem, pointing out that “anyone can be a firefighter depending on how determined they are.” Just pure adrenaline, the mind can be tricked into what Qassem considered “suicidal thoughts if it does not contain endorphins,” which is counterproductive to firefighters.
On the other side of the spectrum, constantly chasing endorphins can become an impulsive behavior heading towards self-destructive situations, perishing to pure adrenaline
“Broken arm, dislocated shoulder, fractured ribs, and cracked pelvis,” Qassem listed his injuries that intensified after the adrenaline rush faded. The rush of an extreme sports risk-taker and a firefighter are “kind of similar because we both face dangerous situations,” he replied, when asked about the similarities between his job and extreme sports.
Speaking of danger, Czech Rider and FMX4Ever Team Leader Martin Koren said that extreme athletes in freestyle motocross (FMX) always take “calculated risks” when doing dangerous stunts mid-air.
At the age of three, he rid a kid motorcycle, eventually practicing daily to become a professional stuntman. Dangerous tricks such as the Tsunami Back Flip are practiced on a foam pit, disciplining himself into controlling his mind and emotions, except it is more challenging to control the body, which lead to, “broken femur, tibia, fibula, wrists, fingers, shoulder, ribs, spine and knee.”
Despite being a long-term professional with a high pain threshold, Koren acknowledged that even when he abstains from stunts “for a long time, it’s always scary,” pushing his heart rate to the max and having a “feeling of absolute life,” while being alert with fast refl exes, covered in protective equipment. On the flipside, he said that FMX challenged him to push his limits because the sport has “many styles of riding depending on the terrain,” exclaiming that anyone with passion and will can be an FMX rider.
Koren’s teammate and compatriot FMX4Ever Rider Radek Bilek began learning stunts because he “spent a lot of time riding in the circus” where he met friends who drove him to “work with my body and understand how it works,” adding that he still has far-off skills to acquire. Step by step, he kept practicing tricks in his “own park where there is a 21 meter long ramp with a landing.” Handstands, techniques, agility, flexibility dexterities and BMX skills are all coordinated into the execution of “tricks that look easy and smooth, like everyone can do it,” said Bilek. In mid-air for 2-3 seconds, right before performing stunts, it is “hard to explain, a little bit nervous but pumped to ride, especially in a good place with a really good crowd” nightmarishly energized, he is “scared for sure.” Fear is generally deemed as a weakness even though adrenaline activates out of it. People will use their survival skills even if it results in self-harm to be death escapers. What scares them intensifies their strength’s awareness into adrenaline episodes enabling them to cross boundaries, eventually with ease, then the rush’s adaptability pushes the limits further into a higher adrenaline rush threshold. Through the brain’s decipherment, the rush alternates then galvanizes the body’s imperceptible skills
By Loulwa Tarek