In the NFL, it is well known, if not expected, to see players’ bodies brutally collide on the field during a game. What is kept out of view is the extensive amount of pain and rehab required by players after each game. As the following article chronicles, dangerous pharmaceutical painkillers are freely given both before and after NFL games as a routine part of the rehabilitation regimen in order to keep players on the field. Frequent use of these highly addictive narcotics leave many retired players addicted – and still suffering in pain from the injuries suffered during their glory days.
The media frequently reports on players suffering concussions and the possibility of consequential long-term effects such as dementia. The story yet to be told is about the addiction crisis. While the NFL has discontinued the use of certain specific pain medications due to fatal side effects, there are still plenty of others still being used today with their own set of dangerous side effects that are equally easy to abuse.
Much has been said about the fact that both teams in the Super Bowl this year come from the two states that have legalized marijuana for adult use. What hasn’t drawn much attention, however, is that almost all of the players would qualify for the more ubiquitous medical marijuana programs in the 20 states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Estimates are that over 50% of NFL players currently utilize marijuana for pain. NFL leadership has been quoted in the past weeks leading up to the Super Bowl offering coy hints that medical marijuana may be beneficial. Science knows this to be true.
Claims by the NFL have been made that changes to the rules affecting the style of play of the game as well as independent medical observers will make concussions less frequent and better treated. However, the evidence is not compelling. There will always be many smaller undetected hits that can cause damaging inflammation requiring long term treatment. Recent research identifies marijuana as a powerful anti inflammatory that can enter the brain and greatly reduce damage caused by concussions.
Perhaps someday marijuana will be the drug of choice for the NFL…