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Man saves cousin by lifting car off him

Scientific effect of so-called “hysterical strength” caused by surge of adrenaline still not fully proven – but New Zealand case provokes interest.

Image: JD Hancock via Flickr/Creative Commons

HEROIC FEATS OF strength are not always limited to the Olympics arena – a New Zealander managed to lift a 1.5-tonne car off his cousin so that he could escape further injury.

The New Zealand Herald reported that Mosh Tawera managed to lift up the back of an old Mercedes to release his cousin Josh Hepi. The car had started moving down a steep driveway when Hepi reached into it to get something out and it then flipped over, trapping him underneath. The incident happened just outside the house where the young men live.

Hepi was under observation in hospital yesterday but appears to be on the mend.

Scientists have long investigated the theory that fear, and the ensuing adrenaline rush it precipitates, can allow people to pull off superhuman feats of strength for a brief period. Sometimes referred to as “hysterical strength”, it is not a medically accepted phenomenon. However, the energy boost caused by a surge of adrenaline is recognised – in 1988, a scientific study found that rats given a shot of adrenaline showed increased efficiency in the performance of their heart muscle.

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