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NFLPA files grievance over Toradol waivers

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As expected, the NFLPA has launched an effort to block teams from requiring players to sign legal waivers before receiving the medical benefits of Toradol.

The union has announced that a grievance has been filed against the NFL Management Council and the 32 teams in response to the requirement that players sign away their rights before receiving a potent pain-killing injection that may have long-term health consequences.

The announcement points out that NFL has complied with an agreement that the teams refrain from requiring players to sign waivers.  However, the doctors are instead presenting the players with the documents, which exonerate not only the doctors but also the teams from liability.  (We ordinarily would say “allegedly” here, but we have obtained a copy of one of the waivers.)

The union contends, basically, that the doctors are trying to foist the ultimate medical decision regarding Toradol use onto the player.  “The position of the NFLPA is NFL Club physicians have a duty to inform Players of the risk and side-effects of prescribed medications and may obtain informed consent from the Player,” the union says in a statement regarding the grievance.  “However, if an NFL Club physician believes a player would be placed at an unacceptable medical risk by using Toradol as part of the care and treatment of an injury, or if the Club physician is concerned about the long-term effects of such use, the team’s medical staff should inform the player of that opinion and refuse to administer Toradol. The NFL Club physician should not administer Toradol and require that a player sign a waiver of liability before doing so. If, on the other hand, there is no such concern on the part of the Club’s medical staff, it should advise the player that the use of Toradol is appropriate.”

The union is entering delicate territory by suggesting that team physicians should refuse to administer Toradol.  The players want it, because many of them need it in order to be able to play.

Of course, the NFLPA also realizes that the teams want the players to be able to play, which means that the doctors will be less inclined to refuse to administer a drug that in plenty of cases will provide the difference between playing or not playing — or playing and not playing very well.  So if the team doctors won’t be naturally inclined to refuse to provide a drug that allows players to play, it’s only fair for players to be able to retain any legal rights they may have if a doctor fails to shut off  the Toradol supply for a player/patient who shouldn’t be taking it.

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18 Responses to “NFLPA files grievance over Toradol waivers”
  1. fuglyflorio says: Dec 12, 2012 1:33 PM

    Drugs. Just say NO.

  2. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Dec 12, 2012 1:43 PM

    I am beginning to get the impression that playing football could potentially be dangerous.

  3. montsta says: Dec 12, 2012 1:46 PM

    Player gets hurt or concussed. Player goes to team doctor and says that he wants to get back out on the field. Doctor explains to player that it is not a good idea and there could be potentially drastic long term health risks if player goes out, but lets the player know there are ways to numb the pain but again, explains there are risks later. Player says I don’t care and goes back out there. Twenty years later the player can’t remember to put his pants on before leaving the house, and sues the NFL for it.

    The NFLPA is a joke that is going to kill football.

  4. cooklynn17 says: Dec 12, 2012 1:51 PM

    Is there anything the NFLPA won’t file a grievance over?

    1. This dog is off the leash, (file a grievance)
    2. Dude looked at me the wrong way, (file a grievance)
    3. I spilled my coffee, (file a grievance)
    4. The sun is too bright and water is wet, (file a grievance)
    5. I left my taco in the fridge and now its stale, (file a grievance)

    Somebody filed a grievance, so we should also file a grievance because they filed a grievance.

    Shut up and play football…

  5. ancylostoma says: Dec 12, 2012 1:54 PM

    Its a legal non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (Ketorolac) ..
    Im a doctor, i have used ketorolac in my patients, its nothing wrong with it EXCEPT the fact that you cant use ketorolac for more than 5 days without risking renal failure.. and THATS the problem.. its not the drug.. its the irresponsible drug use.. which in the NFL is a common thing.

  6. bigjdve says: Dec 12, 2012 1:59 PM

    Hey PA – you know you should talk to all the former players that are suing because they said that the NFL was forcing them to do something or making decisions for them.

    You are putting in a grievance saying that you don’t want the players responsible. How does that work, if the NFL takes responsibility you sue them, if they agree to let you take the responsibility, you complain.

  7. cwwgk says: Dec 12, 2012 2:03 PM

    Fairly common issue. It’s one of informed consent. The doctors should have the players sign a different document. One in which the player expressly acknowledges he has been advised of all the potential risks, complications and benefits of Toradol known to date and that he still wishes the drug to be administered.

    The players (or anyone for that matter) have the right to make the decision whether or not they want to receive the drug based on known risks and benefits. On the other hand, doctors and the league should be insulated from future lawsuits arising out of a former players willing use of Toradol.

    Valid points on both sides. Hope they work something out for a change

  8. thetooloftools says: Dec 12, 2012 2:09 PM

    Now if we could only treat steriods the same way, we could really get back to having fun. I mean who doesn’t miss the Bill Romanowski “Roid Rage” defence? Come on now !

  9. jerrod777 says: Dec 12, 2012 2:29 PM

    Am I the only one that seems to see that whenever an issue comes up by the NFL, the NFLPA seems to have some sort of legal challenge to sue the NFL. Almost everything in the NFL is going to the courts. There has to be a better way!

  10. zhuang1 says: Dec 12, 2012 2:59 PM

    Basically Toradol is generally an IV or IM form of motrin (toradol also comes in oral form but the players are getting it intramuscular I believe).

    Anyways the risks involved are renal (kidney) failure and hemorrhage (bleeding). It is unlikely you will get either with occasional use however it is still possible with only 1 usage.

    If you have high blood pressure or are diabetic or already have preexisting kidney disease then you are at higher risk for this sort of stuff.

    The incidence of hypertension (high blood pressure) is extremely high in the player population due to weight and due to genetic factors (basically most of them being African-American).

    So lets say the incidence of kidney failure is 1 in 10,000 (the actual number is supposedly 1.1% but that is in a small study and most of them are older sicker patients) and you give out 400 shots of this stuff in a season (given the fact that you probably give it out in presason as well when the roster is larger). In a 25 year career you will have 1 episode of acute renal failure which means you will get sued on average of once during your career due to this but as the doctor and you will lose your house, savings, and children’s college savings as he will sue you for loss of future earnings which we know would be in the millions which is more than you got.

    Basically the players want it both ways. They want the meds but don’t want to take personal responsibility if anything happens to them even though they are warned.

  11. raysfan1 says: Dec 12, 2012 3:01 PM

    I too am a physician, just saying “ditto” to anclostoma’s comment.

  12. SeenThisB4 says: Dec 12, 2012 3:11 PM

    Why can’t they just take two aspirins instead?

  13. jboyxl73 says: Dec 12, 2012 3:11 PM

    At what point can’t grown men be accountable for their own actions ? Besides wouldn’t a drug that takes pain away so a player can perform on the field count as a PED since their performance level would be lower without it ?sounds far more dangerous than Adderall if Drs don’t want to prescribe it without a waver

  14. tyde4481 says: Dec 12, 2012 3:40 PM

    Borrrring…did you hear that Jay Cutler didn’t say hi to some kid on the street today after an hours-long charity visit to the hospital that he kept secret from the media? What a jerk!

  15. sarcasticks says: Dec 12, 2012 4:07 PM

    These waivers are rarely worth the paper that they’re written on. Any activist judge can simply declare that the doctors had the obligation to withhold treatment altogether, and not simply jam a document in their face, knowing they wouldn’t read and/or understand it.

    If the NFL is worried about getting sued, stop administering Toradol altogether. I’m sure the players will figure out how to play without it.

  16. granadafan says: Dec 12, 2012 4:12 PM

    It’s sad that the NFL is now run by lawyers. The rash of fines for head hits, “defenseless receiver”, hard hits, bountygate are all due to the big lawsuit by former players for concussions. The NFL would be very different if they had given the former players a bigger piece of the pie. Then we wouldn’t have had the concussion lawsuits.

  17. nananatman says: Dec 12, 2012 4:28 PM

    Foist the ultimate decision on players. Considering it is their decision what to put in their bodies and the fact they shoot so much other stuff in there clandestinely for an edge I’m surprised this is a story.

  18. ncarolinarn7 says: Dec 12, 2012 7:09 PM

    Can increase the likelihood of bleeding especially intracranial on a head to head hit which in turn can cause a stroke.

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