Former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was with the team from 2005-11, said Saturday that he and numerous other Red Sox players were regularly injected with Toradol, a legal anti-inflammatory drug whose use has become increasingly controversial in sports.
Let's take a closer look at this news.
What it Means
For Papelbon, it doesn't really mean anything right now. Toradol is a legally prescribed painkiller, but it is controversial in all sports because of its dangerous side effects.
Current Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz was hospitalized last season after being overcome with esophagitis, which, according to the ESPN report, is a known side effect of Toradol.
As Fox News noted in December, "The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the NFL's teams and the NFL Management Council for forcing players to sign waivers when being prescribed Toradol."
Papelbon was able to avoid any side effects in Boston, but when he moved to Philadelphia, the Phillies reportedly told him that the drug was completely off-limits.
The closer said that "they use safer anti-inflammatories," and he has never taken the drug since arriving in the City of Brotherly Love.
While Papelbon wasn't affected by use of the drug and is now away from it in Philly, Toradol continues to be a major problem in baseball and the sports world in general.
The drug, which is banned in several other countries, was given the following warning label by the Food and Drug Administration:
Increased risk of serious GI adverse events including bleeding, ulcer, and stomach or intestine perforation, which can be fatal; may occur at any time during use and without warning signs.
A 162-game season can be an absolute grind, and it's understandable that players would do whatever they can to make it through without too much pain. But when the potential risk is deadly, changes need to be made.
Guys like Papelbon and Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, who "was injected about a dozen times" in 2011, may come out unscathed from the drug, but others might not always be so fortunate.
Hopefully more work will continue to be done to keep these players as safe as possible.