NFL Players Association Calls for Change as Injuries and Painkiller Addictions Increase at Alarming Rate

NFL player safety is being called into question as more and more footballers come forward and admit to using painkillers to make it through the game. Some have likened the pain to receiving a badge of honor. Because players don’t want to let their teammates, coach, or fans down, they dull the pain with medications, grit their teeth and head back out onto the field.

Behind the scenes, anti-inflammatory injections, sleeping pills, and other painkilling drugs are said to be doled out like candy. The pressure on players to perform is tremendous, but at an increasingly high cost. Several struggle with drug side effects.

A growing number of players are becoming addicted to the very medications used to numb their injuries and help them excel. And “playing through the pain”, for many, has caused damage that cannot be repaired.

Former players who look back on game time tactics are frustrated. Many feel used by the NFL, saying that the league sacrificed their health for ratings then turned its back on them when they needed support the most.

As a result, the NFL has been the subject of numerous lawsuits, with complaints lodged from over 2,000 former athletes. The main grievance is that the NFL has been downplaying the serious nature of head injuries and the fact that many lead to permanent damage.

The widespread use of painkillers and other prescription drugs has become interwoven into the fabric of the game. As the number of abuses rises, the NFL Players Association continues to voice the need for change. It’s calling for players to be provided with better educational programs regarding the dangers of prescription drug misuse.

A study of 644 retired players conducted two years ago by Washington University’s School of Medicine showed that over half depended on painkillers to get through the season. Of those studied, more than seven out of ten admitted that the habit resulted in abuse.