Former NFL players call for medical marijuana to be taken off banned list
Football players take an alarming array of pain medication to get back on the field but some believe medical cannabis is a safer and more effective alternativeScott Keyes in Fort Collins, Colorado, The Guardian
Last modified on Sunday 3 January 2016 08.02 EST
To understand football, Nate Jackson says, you need to remember one inherent truth about the game: a human body was not made to absorb that kind of punishment.
“There’s no safe way to get hit by a truck,” Jackson puts it.
Jackson, author of the football memoir Slow Getting Up, spent six seasons playing tight end for the Denver Broncos. Recounting a lifetime of football-related injuries is nearly impossible, because, as he put it: “You’re always kind of battling with something.”
To hurry players back from injury, a cocktail of pain pills and anti-inflammatory injections are typically dispensed. Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Percocet, Toradol, Celebrex, Vioxx (before it was recalled for increasing the long-term risk of heart attacks and strokes) and so on. The widespread use of highly potent prescription pain drugs, some argue, has allowed the NFL to become the multibillion-dollar industry that it is today, but at a price.
A 2011 study by researchers at Washington University in St Louis found that former NFL players were four times more likely to abuse prescription painkillers than the general population. And more than seven in 10 players who used pain medications during their playing days went on to abuse them, though former offensive tackle Kyle Turley said he thinks that number is actually closer to 90%.