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The Nation Football League: When Will Pain Be Enough To Help The Players?
The National Football League season officially starts this week with the first preseason game of the year. For majority of the country this is a time of excitement, as we get prepared to passionately watch our team and favorite players compete on the largest stage. But what happens behind the scenes is another story.
Over the last three decades the NFL has been giving their players a copious amount of dangerous drugs ranging from opioids to anti-inflammatory medication. Instead of trying to help make the game safer they have continued to mask the pain these players feel daily.
Newly retired All-Pro Offensive Tackle Eugene Monroe made buzz last year (March 9, 2016) as the first active NFL player to openly advocate for the use of cannabinoids to treat chronic pain and sports-related injuries. Lets just say the NFL didn’t appreciate this advocacy.
Monroe wrote an article for The Players Tribune titled Getting off the T Train. The T Train? What in the world is that? Monroe describes it in this manner,
“Before kickoff on game day, in NFL locker rooms all over the country, players wait in line to drop their pants. We call it the T Train… The T Train is nothing more than a bunch of really large guys waiting to pull their pants down to get shot in the butt with Toradol, a powerful painkiller that will help them make it through the game and its aftermath.”
The use and distribution of Toradol is to make the players feel numb so they can take the punishment they are inflicted during the NFL season. Feeling numb causes more injuries than it protects, how are the players expected to know when they are injured if they can’t feel it.
NFL Drug & Toradol Abuse
In July of 2016, a California judge allowed a lawsuit filed by over 1,500 former players alleging that NFL teams have been illegally procuring and distributing painkillers for decades.
This is how the stories of Toradol abuse were first discovered publicly.
Former tight end Tory Sadowski has spoken out to SB Nation about how trainers and coaches handled this painkiller, not only endorsing the drug but saying it was good for him to use. SB Nation reports this complaint:
“In Pittsburgh, syringes full of Toradol were lined up in the locker room labelled with the player’s number. Mr. Sadowski was never told of the side effects of any of these drugs. In fact, he was told by a number of trainers that Toradol was good for his long-term health – it cleaned out his organs.”
Sadly, this isn’t a rare event in the NFL, even my favorite team the Seattle Seahawks have complaints from former players in the same light.
Retired offensive tackle Jerry Wunsch who played with the Seahawks from 2002-2005 is now involved in two lawsuits against the NFL. According to SB Nation, Wunsch alleges that in 2003, then Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren pressured him into taking painkillers before a game.
Coach Holmgren asked Mr. Munsch if he could play, to which Mr. Wunsch replied “I do not think so.” Coach Holmgren then called for Sam Ramsden, the Seahawks’ trainer, and asked “what can we do to help Mr. Wunsch play today.”
From the report Wunsch had allegedly been given Vicodin twice, once before kickoff and again at halftime, to make matters worse he was also given Toradol. Wunsch has claimed he received Toradol before every game and now has an unhealthy kidney with no family history of kidney disease.
Studying For An Alternative
For the NFL to truly care about the safety of its players it should exhaust every possibility, and leave no rock unturned. For the sake of this blog lets dive into CBD and the potential benefits it could hold.
CBD also known as Cannabidiol is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. CBD used to be called “hippie’s disappointment” because it doesn’t give you the high traditional THC would.
- Anti-inflammatory: Fights inflammation and pain
- Anticonvulsant: Suppresses seizure activity
- Antiemetic: Reduces nausea and vomiting
- Antipsychotic: Fights psychosis
- Anti-oxidant: Fights neurodegenerative diseases
- Anti-depressant: Fights anxiety and depression
- Anti-tumoral: Fights tumor and cancer cells at the stem cell
According to Dr. Suzanne Sisley member of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) board and president of the Scottsdale Research Institute, that they have found CBD to also play a role in neuroprotection. Dr. Sisley told the San Francisco Chronicle:
“The bottom line is that cannabinoids are clearly neuroprotective. We have preclinical data at the receptor level that cannabinoids and cannabis are not only involved with brain repair but neurogenesis, the development of new neural tissue. It’s one of the most exciting discoveries of modern neuroscience.”
This seems rather important in helping treat CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), which in a Boston University study was found in 99% of brains of former NFL players.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthiness
Football players just like anyone else deserve the right to be able to choose how to cope with their pain. They should be able to ask for second opinions and be given real research, instead of being doped up by their employers whom make millions of dollars every day in association to their pain.
Hopefully the NFL learns that times are changing, we no longer should wait for the status quo to break, we must attack this head on.
If the NFL truly cares about its players they must be proactive, not reactive.