Before every kickoff of every NFL game, a line will form of players waiting to take a shot of toradol, a powerful anti-inflammatory.
“This is commonplace in the NFL and it’s actually commonplace in some college locker rooms,” Ravens offensive lineman Eugene Monroe said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “The toradol shot that we are administered – essentially, if you’ve gotten injuries, it helps you push through the upcoming game by masking the pain. And also players take it to mask any pain that, at the NFL level, (they’ll) almost (certainly) experience.”
While toradol can mask pain, however, it does not treat injuries – and Monroe has had plenty of those. From torn labrums to concussions, he’s experienced just about everything. Unfortunately, NFL injuries often require surgeries; surgeries often require painkillers; painkillers are often addicting.
“We know that we have a problem in our country – not just in sports, not just in the NFL – but across the country, people are being prescribed opiates by doctors and becoming addicted,” Monroe said. “Doctors didn’t know until recently that these drugs were very dangerous and addictive. It’s taken the CDC to step in and say, ‘Hey, listen, we need to take a look at how you guys are prescribing these pills. It’s causing a problem.’”
Rather than taking Vicodin and other painkillers that “don’t make you feel good,” but rather, make you feel like “a zombie,” Monroe would rather take something that has become much more acceptable in recent years: medicinal marijuana.
“Marijuana is medically available in almost half of our country, and by the end of this year with ballot initiatives and the way they’re polling, will be available for more than half our country, which includes states that hold NFL teams and various other sports,” Monroe said. “We know through research, through the reporting of thousands of patients who have been prescribed marijuana by their certified doctors, that it’s a great tool that their doctors have been able to prescribe them to help them manage various types of pain. Our government even has a patent on some compounds in marijuana having the ability to protect the brain in the event of traumatic injury, which is a concussion, which we also know we have a huge problem (with) in our league.”
Roger Goodell, however, isn’t ready to allow players to use medicinal marijuana.
“What Roger Goodell has said is they’re waiting on their medical doctors to give them the information that this is something that we should allow,” Monroe said. “We just continue to wait as players for a healthier option to heal ourselves. Enough is enough in terms of waiting. I’ve spoken to many doctors across the county from different spectrums of medicine who firmly believe and have experienced through their own practices the benefits of medical cannabis.”
Skeptics will say that Monroe and other NFL players just want to get high without consequences. In reality, they just want to treat pain and injuries without damaging their bodies further or potentially becoming addicted to painkillers.
“We’re not talking about perpetuating a stigma,” Monroe said. “We’re talking about doctors medically prescribing – and also responsibly prescribing – adult professional athletes cannabis and not punishing guys for taking a substance that they should be prescribed. . . . It’s safer than the opiates that we’re currently being prescribed for our pain. It’s a safer drug than what we’re able to use at the moment.”