Bleacher Bits: Paying the price to play
Every boy who has ever padded up to play competitive football knows that it is possible to get hurt or injured during practice or in games.
And there's a very good chance those same boys have been told by at least one coach that there's a difference between playing hurt and playing injured.
It's the dangerous line between "being there for their team" and being here at all that some players are choosing to cross — and sometimes paying the cost.
On Thursday, ABC News reported that an investigation found that college football players across the country have been receiving injections of a powerful painkiller — a generic version of Toradol — so they can play while injured.
The drug is recommended for the short-term treatment of post-operative pain in hospitals, and its use is not monitored by the NCAA, so it's completely legal.
It can also be completely lethal.
The investigation found that the manufacturers' warning label for generic Toradol says the drug is not intended for prolonged periods or for chronic pain and cites gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney failure as possible side effects. Also, the label warns that the use of the drug "may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, heart attack and stroke, which can be fatal."
Following the 2010 season, USC lineman Armond Armstead suffered a heart attack at age 20, and had received shots of Toradol over the course of the season. There has since been a lawsuit filed against the school and the doctor, where Armstead claims the school ignored the stated risks of the drug and never told him about them.
Some may argue that these "adult" football players are capable of making their own decisions regarding whether or not to use the injections to remain on the field, but that is not entirely accurate.
The US Department of Health & Human Services reports that the prefrontal cortex — the region of the brain that gives an individual the capacity to exercise "good judgment" — does not develop completely until the age of 25.
There is a myriad of painkillers on the market, and I don't see the need for the use of drugs like Toradol to keep football players on the playing field. The importance of picking up that first down disappears entirely when it also becomes a player's last down.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.