Nothing screams America like football. Football is undoubtedly the most popular professional sport in the nation…and also happens to be the most dangerous. From torn ligaments to broken bones and concussions, football is easily the most-accident prone professional sport that exists. And like most Americans, professional football players are often prescribed a cocktail of prescription painkillers to help manage pain.
Pro Football Players Let NFL Know They Support Medical Marijuana
A group of professional football players recently banned together to let the NFL know that they believe its time to allow players to use medical marijuana. In mid-January, several former football players voiced their opinion in a video supported by the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition.
Prescription Painkillers in Pro Football Are a Big Problem…But the NFL Still Says No to Pot
The use of painkillers is so prominent in the NFL that there was a lawsuit filed against the league last year, alleging that painkillers were given recklessly to players.
An anonymous survey conducted by ESPN that showed almost 75 percent of 226 players surveyed think medical marijuana should be legalized federally. Nearly half of them believed that if they were permitted to use it fewer players would need to take prescription painkillers and aspirin.
The NFL however, continues to stand firmly against allowing players to medicate with marijuana. They recently said they might consider looking at studies of how marijuana helps with pain management, but chances of actually allowing players to use it is another story.
“Listen,” says NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, “you’re ingesting smoke, so that’s usually not a very positive thing. It does have an addictive nature. There are a lot of compounds that may not be healthy for a player long-term. All of those things have to be considered…we’ve been studying that through our advisers. To date, they haven’t said this is a change you should make that’s in the best interest of the health and safety of our players.”
Goodell apparently hasn’t heard that medical marijuana doesn’t need to be smoked. And maybe he’s unaware of the addictive properties of the opioids regularly prescribed to players? Or that the regular use of anti-inflammatories (also used regularly in the NFL) increase the risk of heart attack and stroke from 10-50 percent?
Medical Cannabis for Concussions?
There is also the research that shows the neuroprotective role of marijuana, something that countless individuals who support the use of cannabis among NFL players say could play a crucial role in the damage of concussions.
The Doctors for Cannabis Regulation is trying to get the NFL to see how beneficial medical cannabis could be regarding the concussions players experience on a regular basis. Not only do some medical professionals believe that marijuana can prevent the damaging effects of concussions, but also help reduce brain swelling and stimulate neural tissue growth.
According to Suzanne Sisley of the Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, “There is some early data that cannabis does play a role in neuroprotection. This is the kind of science we’ve put in front of the NFL, hoping they would reconsider their antiquated policies.”
The NFL however, hasn’t reconsidered. As stated by players pushing for medical marijuana in the NFL, “Instead of allowing for safe, natural healing the sport pushes players towards addictive narcotic painkillers with serious side-effects.”