Painkillers in the NFL and Beyond

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NFL players getting hit constantly every Sunday is similar to experiencing low-impact car crashes on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, doctors are not readily available to relieve this excruciating pain during and after the games. However, trainers dispersing painkillers are available. Trainers for NFL teams are looked upon favorably for how fast they can get the stars back on the field, despite these players seeing stars.

Now, imagine you have spent an eight-year NFL career taking up to 300 painkillers a month. You have surgery after you retire and the doctor only gives you around 30 pills. That’s the equivalent of a 300-pound junk food fanatic being satisfied with a teaspoon of ice cream for dessert after a salad for dinner.

As a former player, your access to painkillers diminishes. You want and need more. Soon, you get addicted. According to recent ESPN studies, 52 percent of retired NFL players said they used prescription pain medication during their career, and of those, more than 70 percent said they misused the drugs. 

Just last year, former NFL quarterback and current sports broadcaster Ray Lucas decided to tackle his addiction to prescription opioid painkillers. Now Lucas is sharing his story to motivate others to take action against their disease and to help people understand that there are more options than they may be aware of. 

For more on the study of painkillers in the NFL, please visit: http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/21789.aspx

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