Contestants, Doctor Discuss Mental And Physical Effects Of Contest

The "Hands On A Hard Body" contest can be a physically and mentally-draining experience. Contestants say staying awake and having to stand on their feet for a long period of time can take its toll on the body and mind.

The signs of fatigue are evident on Jeremy Newlin's face and speech. He was sent home today when Patterson Nissan ended the competition. "I have to let my body not tell my mind that it's hurting that much," says Newlin, who's competed in the event for four years.

"I've got a slight headache from lack of sleep," says Newlin, after spending 48 hours in the event. "My feet hurt the second I put my hands on the truck because they know I'm going to be there a while."

Doctors say standing for a long time has multiple effects on a person's body. "The muscles when they're stressed, the muscle enzymes grow high. That can lead to multi-organ failure and altered mental status," says Dr. Rekha Reddy, with Good Shepherd Family Health Center. "It's not just about having lack of sleep. It's also the stress on them to win the truck."

Doctor Reddy says after 36 hours, some people begin hallucinating. Former contestant, Lawrence Fuller has been there. "Quickly you begin rationalizing, 'I'm hallucinating'," says Fuller, who lasted 91 hours in the contest in 2003. "So you start talking to yourself. It's like voices, the angel on one side, the devil on the other."

Newlin says he's had similar experiences. "It's more scary for the one watching because they don't know what's going on. You can't describe it to them and they want to know what they can do to help you," says Newlin.

Contestants say it takes anywhere from one day to a week to recover from the experience. Doctor Reddy says generally people begin showing signs of fatigue after staying awake for 24 hours. However, she says because everyone's body is different, their physical and mental reaction can vary.

Oralia Ortega reporting,