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Report: College Football Programs Continue To Use A Powerful Painkiller While Ignoring The Risks

  • Dylan Murphy

College football is hardly a sacrosanct institution, corrupted by boosters and politics and money… so much money. The players, as ATMs, are at the heart of that system – and debate – and do what they have to do to stay on the field. Consequently, cheating and lying and coverups, among other things, have developed into the norm.

For the coaches, the stakes are even higher. Graduation rates and character-building are comfortable platitudes, but wins and bowl games and program notoriety drive the college football machine. A coach is right at the center of that, and so they’ve been known to abuse players and bend recruiting rules and altogether ignore academics.

Though the moral and sometimes legal violations mentioned above are disturbing, a report from ABC News today claims that lives and player safety – not Roger Goodell footballspeak, but the actual well-being of humans, as in people – are at risk. The report, which you should read in its entirety, indicates that multiple major college football programs continue to use a dangerous painkiller, a generic version of the drug Torado, so players can play through injuries.

But the sticking point, as outlined by ABC, is that the drug is not meant for continued use.

“The manufacturers’ warning label for generic Toradol (ketorolac tromethamine) says the drug is not intended for prolonged periods or for chronic pain and cites gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney failure as possible side effects of the drug.

In addition, like other drugs in its class, the generic Toradol label warns ‘may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and stroke, which can be fatal.’

‘This risk may increase with duration of use,’ the so-called black box warning reads.”

Of all the programs contacted by ABC News, only Oklahoma and Nebraska claimed to stop or severely limit using the drug completely. Toradol has come under fire recently when former USC football player Armond Armstead sued the university because of a heart attack he suffered, which he claims was a direct result of abuse of Toradol.

“Armstead says he and many other USC players would receive injections of what was known only as ‘the shot’ in a specific training room before big games and again at half-time.

‘No discussion, just go in. He would give the shot and I would be on my way,’ Armstead told ABC News.’Armstead says he and many other USC players would receive injections of what was known only as “the shot” in a specific training room before big games and again at half-time.

‘No discussion, just go in. He would give the shot and I would be on my way,’ Armstead told ABC News.”

That a powerful painkiller is possibly administered with potentially deadly consequences and has earned a reputation of normalcy, even an offhand and cure-all nickname – “The Shot” – should be cause for concern. And all of this possibly without informed consent – because you can’t expect a college football player, amidst the regularity of playing through injuries and stigmas associated with the alternative – to rationally consider his options. An injured player who’s offered a magic shot at halftime isn’t going to stop and weigh the long-term consequences of said shot: he’s going to take it and suit up for the third quarter.

The NCAA, those masters of oversight, remain willfully ignorant to the experimental pharmacology being done on the training table at at least one D1 school:

‘In a statement, the NCAA said it requires member schools to follow state and federal laws about medical treatment and prescription medicine, and publishes guidelines that include ‘best practices’ for the handling of medication. “NCAA members have decided that it is their individual responsibility to assure compliance with appropriate medication and treatment guidelines,’ said the statement.”

NCAA members have decided. Well, then. “Hey guys, here are some guidelines. We hope you follow them!” NCAA members have also proven that money is the be all end all, but that apparently counts for nothing. And so we’re left with this, the facade of oversight. Because as long as the money keeps rolling in, the ends justify the means — means we’re not even aware of.

Photo via Shutterstock

[ABC News]


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