Smith hints at possible link between concussions and painkillers

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As the dangers of concussions have become more and more clear, many quietly have speculated on the potential impact of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs on the cumulative impact of repetitive brain trauma.

In a recent interview with USA Today, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith stopped short of blaming steroids — but he suggested that there could be a connection between brain damage and painkillers.

What is the relationship to painkillers and the possibility of exacerbating both the concussive and sub-concussive event?” Smith said.  “Two years ago, the use of Toradol became an issue because we found out Toradol is an anti-coagulant, so if you take the combination of concussive and sub-concussive events and you add to it a drug that is being prescribed by team doctors that prevents or inhibits clotting, you are now concerned whether sub-concussive events were being exacerbated.  We want to make sure every team doctor is having that conversation with every player.”

The NFLPA occupies a delicate and awkward position in the concussion litigation.  The union hasn’t been sued (yet) by the thousands of former players who claim that the true hazards were hidden from them, but the evidence likely will show that the NFLPA was directly involved in the studies and activities that many of the players claim were concealed.

For the next wave of potential concussion plaintiffs, pointing to the overuse of painkillers by teams could provide a safe harbor for the union, since it’s possibly not the concussions but the concussions and the painkillers that are causing the problems.

15 responses to “Smith hints at possible link between concussions and painkillers

  1. So not getting blasted by a 300 pound guy when stationary while throwing a football isn’t the issue? Excellent. I’m happy we are able to work through this so effortlessly.

  2. Lenny,

    I believe theyre saying it can worsen the effects of that 300 pound guy hitting the other…

    Think of it like a seatbelt in a car. You can get hurt wearing a seatbelt or not, when youre in an accident…but people who dont wear seatbelts tend to get worse injuries.

    Obviously the accident caused the damage, but theres a link between alternate factors and the effects caused.

  3. It’s only logical since it’s been scientifically proven that steroids have an effect on internal organs like the heart. Only logical to link it to putting the brain at higher risk of already great trauma going on from the repeated collisions.

  4. The game we love has been proven to take a heavier physical, mental and emotional toll on the players than anyone previously understood.

    Predictably, the owners were first to address the issue. Motivated by a desire to protect the golden goose, safety measures are introduced.

    Predictably, the players respond by questioning the league’s motives (no argument from me). Many players have mocked proposed safety measures. What the players and union have yet to tell anyone is how they address their own safety on the field.

    If players really, really wanted a safer game they could make it happen.

    They don’t. The owners don’t. Let’s face it, most fans don’t.

  5. The whole Toradol issue is so overblown. Take the word Toradol and replace it with Ibuprofen or Naproxen (Advil or Aleve). It does the exact same thing and the same risks. How many people here consider Advil a real pain killer!?

  6. Aspirin has blood thinning effects – that’s why many people take a baby Aspirin a day as protection against a potential heart attack. Now other pain killers might work in a similar fashion (I am no Doctor)

    Thinner blood flows better than thicker – now you get hit a lot (contusions, concussions, etc)…and it makes totally sense – at least to me.

  7. Am I a bad person by admitting that I dont particularly care about player safety? I mean, I dont want someone to end up getting seriously hurt, but I also wouldnt change rules to stop it.

    I love watching big hits, why is it so wrong to love watching people get a bone crushing hit in football, yet so many people love watching the MMA?

    Players who sue claiming they were informed of the risks are either idiots or trying to make a quick buck. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence understands repeatedly getting hit in the head or hitting someone else in the head, will do damage to you. Do they really need someone to explain that a violent sport can cause injuries? Im just so tired of this.

  8. They need to quit screwing around and start testing for HGH. Football players are huge, and freakishly fast. There are 300-350 lb lineman that can run the forty in close to 5 seconds. That might cause a concussion.. They need to start testing for those substances., and quit trying to blame the Advil.

  9. Why is Toradol the only painkiller these guys talk about? I bet they all eat Vicodin like candy………

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