Joseph Keul

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Joseph Keul (1999)

Joseph Wilhelm Keul (born August 21, 1932 in Euskirchen ; † July 22, 2000 in Freiburg im Breisgau ) was a German doctor, internist , sports medicine specialist and university professor.


After graduating from high school in 1954, Keul studied medicine in Bonn and Freiburg . In 1956 he passed his physics exams in Freiburg. He completed two clinical semesters in Munich , in 1958 he submitted his doctoral thesis on the subject of "Cardiac volume, pulse rate, oxygen uptake and oxygen pulse as the basis of a clinical functional test of the heart", in 1959 he obtained his doctorate and passed his state examination in Freiburg in the same year. Keul completed his habilitation in 1964, the title of his work was "Metabolism and blood flow in the human heart". He was awarded the Carl Diem plaque of the German Sports Association.

As an active athlete, he represented the clubs SC Euskirchen and Post-SV Munich. In 1954 he was sixth at the German Youth Championships over the 1500 meter course. He set his best time over this route in 1957 with 3: 51.8.

From 1973 Keul was full professor for internal medicine and sports medicine at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg . Since 1960 he was the attending physician of the German Olympic teams, from 1980 their chief physician. In addition, he served until his death, the German Tennis - Davis Cup team and was a member of the National Olympic Committee (NOC). In 1962 he was appointed to the “Federal Committee for Competitive Sport ” by Willi Daume , with whom, according to Giselher Spitzer, he had “a long relationship of trust”. From 1973 to 1992 Keul was a member of the Medical Committee of the Federal Institute for Sports Science (BISp) and from 1979 together with Ommo Grupe as Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Board "Applied Sciences in the Field of Sports".

In 1998 he was elected President of the German Sports Medical Association and in 2000 Honorary President. Keul also saw himself as the successor to Herbert Reindell , who kept a close connection above all to medium and long-distance runners. In 1973 Keul gave the Joseph B. Wolffe Memorial Lecture at the American College of Sports Medicine . A few weeks before his death, Keul received an honorary doctorate in natural sciences from the University of Vienna . Joseph Keul died of cancer.


Keul was repeatedly criticized as a sports doctor, because he was accused of not only researching illegal doping manipulation , but also promoting it. In 1977 Werner Franke accused Keul of playing down the side effects of anabolic steroids .

In 1991, Der Spiegel cited Keul about the doping agent erythropoietin (EPO), saying that it was "harmless if used correctly" and that it could "replace altitude training." In the same year Manfred von Richthofen and Harm Beyer , who had to clarify the doping practices of the unified Germany in a commission of the German Sports Association , asked NOK President Willi Daume without success to replace Keul because of his obvious involvement as an Olympic doctor.

In 1994 it emerged from reports that the head of the GDR doping program Manfred Höppner as IM Technik had sent to the Ministry for State Security that Keul had informed him in 1974 that “anabolic steroids are generally used in the FRG”. Not only does Keul have “in principle nothing against it”, he is also “not inclined” to “forego the administration of anabolic steroids”. Furthermore, Keul thwarted the introduction of stricter doping guidelines in a medical commission of the IAAF , a statement that was confirmed by the Austrian sports doctor Ludwig Prokop . In a letter written jointly with Herbert Reindell to NOK President Willi Daume in November 1976, the two sports medicine specialists wrote that the ban on anabolic steroids was questionable because "diseases or damage are not known to this day".

Hartmut Riedel , who moved from the GDR to the FRG in 1987 and who had researched anabolic steroids in the GDR, later became a professor in Bayreuth thanks to an expert opinion from Keul.

The Freiburg doping commission set up on the occasion of the doping affair Team Telekom came to the conclusion in its final report, in which the participation of doctors from the University Clinic Freiburg in the organized doping in the Team Telekom , that there was no evidence of an active participation of Keul in the doping activities of the Doctors Schmid and Heinrich as well as Huber were present. Keul, however, favored this through his basic attitude and the lack of control of the processes in the department he heads. Keul was always there when "it was a matter of denying or playing down the use, effects and side effects of doping agents." His role in the doping scandal at the Freiburg University Medical Center was presented in detail in their final report in 2009. It came u. a. found out that the use of third-party funds resulted in incomprehensible and inadmissible payments to other people.

In March 2017, a study by the Mainz scientist Andreas Singler was published, which he had presented together with Gerhard Treutlein . Thereafter, Keul was the "sports medicine doctor most exposed to doping in West Germany". He was the "central guarantor" of the double standard and the fiction of compatibility of "international competitiveness and manipulation-free top-class sport as the normal case". He had contributed to doping in the Federal Republic of Germany "with decades of marginalization, trivialization and deception about the real situation". However, he only doped athletes occasionally. The case of a track and field athlete from 1983 who had attracted attention because of the intake of testosterone and who, under the supervision of Keuls and Manfred Donike, was preparing for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles to observe the breakdown of the substance is documented. The conclusion of the study: "[It] is a scandal of almost unprecedented proportions that the athlete, scientifically supported by the highest level, was able to participate with considerable success at the World Cup in Helsinki in 1983 and at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984."


  • with Erich Doll and Dietrich Keppler: muscle metabolism. The provision of energy in the skeletal muscle as the basis of its function. JA Barth, Munich 1969.
  • Doping. Pharmacological performance enhancement and exercise. German Sports Association, Frankfurt 1970.
  • as editor: Limiting factors of physical performance. International symposium at Gravenbruch 1971. Thieme, Stuttgart 1973, ISBN 3-13-495101-0 .
  • with Wilfried Kindermann : Anaerobic energy supply in high-performance sport. The importance of metabolic acidosis in physiological and pathological conditions. Hofmann, Schorndorf 1977, ISBN 3-7780-7591-8 .
  • with Aloys Berg: Physical activity in healthy and coronary patients. Effects of endurance-oriented exercise therapy on cardiovascular and metabolic parameters in patients with coronary artery disease. Witzstrock, Baden-Baden / Cologne / New York 1980, ISBN 3-87921-149-3 . (with Aloys Berg & Manfred Lehmann: 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Thieme, Stuttgart / New York 1986, ISBN 3-13-686302-X )
  • with Gerrit Simon, Hans-Hermann Dickhuth : Echocardiography to assess the function of the heart. Enke, Stuttgart 1981, ISBN 3-432-91941-7 .
  • with Herbert Reindell (Hrsg.): The sporting citizen - endangerment or recovery? perimed-Fachbuch-Verlagsgesellschaft, Erlangen 1983, ISBN 3-88429-172-6 .
  • with Hans-Hermann Dickhuth (Ed.): Heart failure. Pathophysiology, Clinic and Therapy. International Symposium, Hinterzarten, 28. – 30. April 1983. perimed-Fachbuch-Verlagsgesellschaft, Erlangen 1984, ISBN 3-88429-198-X .
  • with Josef Stippig and Aloys Berg: Exercise therapy for coronary heart disease. Structure and design of the therapy session for coronary exercise and training groups. Thieme, Stuttgart / New York 1984, ISBN 3-13-653501-4 .
  • with Dieter Böhmer: Preventive medical checkups for people who do sport. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1986, ISBN 3-17-009729-6 .
  • with Eckart Witzigmann : The Olympic diet. With precise instructions and over 170 recipes. Heyne, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-453-00548-1 .
  • with Aloys Berg and Eberhard Ahlgrimm: Potassium and Sport. Braun, Karlsruhe 1994, ISBN 3-7650-1718-3 .
  • with Michael Hamm: The right fitness diet. The program for more efficiency and joy of life. Umschau / Braus, Heidelberg 1998, ISBN 3-8295-7102-X .
  • with Daniel König and Hermann Scharnagl: History of Sports Medicine. Freiburg and the development in Germany. Haug, Heidelberg 1999, ISBN 3-8304-2027-7 .


  • Aloys Berg, Hans-Hermann Dickhuth : Obituary for Prof. Dr. Dr. hc Joseph Keul. In: German magazine for sports medicine. Volume 51, No. 7 + 8, 2000, p. 280. ( PDF; 696 kB )
  • Andreas Singler, Gerhard Treutlein: Joseph Keul: Scientific culture, doping and research on pharmacological performance enhancement. Scientific report on behalf of the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. Mainz 2015. Accessed at: Website Andreas Singler .

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Andreas Singler: Joseph Keul: Work and Effects - Harmlessness Myths and their Semantic Metabolites. In: Retrieved March 10, 2019 .
  2. Competition for the Science Prize of the German Sports Association (Carl Diem badge) 2005/2006. In: Retrieved March 23, 2019 .
  3. What did Willi Daume know? In: Retrieved March 19, 2019 .
  4. ^ Arnd Krüger : The History of Middle and Long Distance Running in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century. In: Arnd Krüger , Angela Teja (eds.): La Comune Eredita´ dello Sport in Europe: Atti del 1 Seminario Europeo di Storia dello Sport. CONI, Rome 1997, pp. 117-124.
  5. Honor Roll ( Memento from April 9, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Prof. Dr. Josef Keul receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna. In: German magazine for sports medicine. Volume 51, No. 6, 2000. ( PDF; 1.68 MB )
  7. Klaus Blume: Controversial, arguable, but undisputed an institution . In: The world . July 26, 2000.
  8. Anno Hecker: The West German Past: Doper, unite . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . February 2, 2009.
  9. a b Werner Franke : Anabolic steroids in sport - the doctor as vicarious agent of the sports official. Careless belittling of side effects. In: Medical Tribune . Edition Austria. Volume 9, No. 16, April 22, 1977 ( online at )
  10. Mud in your veins . In: Der Spiegel . No. 24 , 1991, pp. 191-198 ( online ).
  11. Dead in a very short time . In: Der Spiegel . No. 9 , 1992, pp. 246 ( online ).
  12. ^ Daniel Drepper: Doping in Germany: "It has been played down and covered up" . In: The time . February 20, 2009 (Interview with Manfred von Richthofen)
  13. Application takes place . In: Der Spiegel . No. 12 , 1994, pp. 192 ( online ).
  14. ^ Thomas Kistner in the Süddeutsche Zeitung , March 21, 1994; quoted in Cycling4Fans: German doctors and doping: Joseph Keul . February 2009, last amendment September 24, 2010.
  15. Andreas Singler and Gerhard Treutlein: Joseph Keul: Scientific culture, doping and research on pharmacological performance enhancement. Scientific report on behalf of the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg . 2015, p. 162 .
  16. - Sports chronicle of the turn. In: Deutschlandfunk. Retrieved March 24, 2019 .
  17. Ludwig and: DOPING: Silence in the West . In: Der Spiegel . tape 45 , November 3, 1997 ( [accessed March 24, 2019]).
  18. Hans-Joachim Schäfer, Wilhelm Schänzer , Ulrich Schwabe: Final report of the commission of experts for the clarification of doping allegations against doctors in the sports medicine department of the Freiburg University Medical Center. March 23, 2009/12. May 2009, p. 41 ( PDF; 342 kB )
  20. ^ "Historically almost unique": doping study burdens ex-Olympic doctor heavily. In: March 18, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2017 .