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Goodell says league would consider marijuana as a concussion treatment

Goodell Getty Images

Even with marijuana now legal for recreational purposes in two of the 22 states where the NFL has teams, the league declines to reconsider its rule that players can’t use it.

That could change, in time.

At a press conference to announce the first winners of the “Head Health Challenge” aimed at finding innovative techniques for treating and/or preventing brain injuries, Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that, if marijuana can be proven to help players recover from concussions, the league could change its position.

“I’m not a medical expert.  We will obviously follow signs.  We will follow medicine and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that,” Goodell said, via USA Today.  “Our medical experts are not saying that right now.”

In a recent interview with HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, NFL senior V.P. of labor law and policy Adolpho Birch told Andrea Kremer that the league would look at anything that could help its players.  An Isreali doctor has found via research on mice that marijuana can help in the recovery from traumatic brain injuries.

Many players already believe that marijuana helps manage pain, and they smoke it even though the league says they can’t.  For players not already in the substance-abuse program, there’s no chance of testing positive after the annual test to which every player is subjected during the offseason, in a window that opens (coincidentally) on 4/20.

If the federal government ever changes its position regarding marijuana, the NFL may have no choice but to revise its position.  The policy as written prohibits the “illegal use” of marijuana; if it’s ever fully legal in jurisdictions like Washington and Colorado, the league won’t have any way to take action against players who live or work there.

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38 Responses to “Goodell says league would consider marijuana as a concussion treatment”
  1. slugbaitspace says: Jan 23, 2014 5:00 PM

    Concussion treatment, eh? So, instead of roughly half of the players smoking it, nearly all of the players would be smoking it. Got it.

  2. thepftpoet says: Jan 23, 2014 5:02 PM

    Goodell is officially the biggest idiot in sports.

    After Jerry Jones of course.

  3. 84smooninlambeaunevergetsold says: Jan 23, 2014 5:03 PM

    Why does it always gotta be about Percy?

  4. thepftpoet says: Jan 23, 2014 5:03 PM

    Zygi Wilf should be the NFL Commish.

    All he’s shown is class throughout his time of owning the Vikings.

    Best owner in all of sports.

  5. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 23, 2014 5:03 PM

    “Harold has been out with concussion symptoms for three and a half years now, but he’s taking his medication religiously. It’s all we can ask.”.

  6. cajunaise says: Jan 23, 2014 5:04 PM

    Whoops, I just undid my chin strap.

    Whoops, I just threw off my helmet.

    I wonder how well that wall is padded? Let’s find out.

  7. thepftpoet says: Jan 23, 2014 5:04 PM

    Suddenly all the players in the NFL starting getting headaches after this statement.

    Coincidence?

  8. ravenswhat says: Jan 23, 2014 5:06 PM

    And amazingly, disclosure to coaching staffs suddenly go up 400%!!

  9. thehatefulnerd says: Jan 23, 2014 5:09 PM

    Goodell, if you want to stop being hated and considered a phoney, this would be a major step in the right direction.

  10. Wineshard says: Jan 23, 2014 5:11 PM

    I have a feeling concussions will rise – or at least REPORTED concussions. As will Bob Marley record sales.

  11. 15starr says: Jan 23, 2014 5:16 PM

    I really don’t think there are too many players that would smoke pot that aren’t already just because it was legal. It’s something you either do or don’t do.

  12. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jan 23, 2014 5:18 PM

    Jerome Simpson just ran head first into the wall..

  13. weepingjebus says: Jan 23, 2014 5:20 PM

    “Just ran your antitrust exemption by the DOJ, looks good for another year. Love, President Pothead.”

  14. dynastyposeiden says: Jan 23, 2014 5:23 PM

    he should spark away then

  15. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 23, 2014 5:24 PM

    So the treatment for concussion symptoms is getting lots of rest and smoking pot? If a few years of that doesn’t seem to help, join the lawsuit.

  16. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 23, 2014 5:26 PM

    Roger was careful to make the distinction that he was speaking of medical marijuana.

    “Not that cheap synthetic crap that Winslow uses…”.

  17. baltimoresnativeson says: Jan 23, 2014 5:27 PM

    So if your in a dazed and light headed smoke something that makes you dazed and light headed.

  18. mackcarrington says: Jan 23, 2014 5:28 PM

    Reads headline.
    Jaw drops to the floor.
    Food falls out of mouth.
    Re-reads headline to make sure it was read correctly.
    Starts to believe the old adage:
    “If you live long enough, you may see anything happen.”

  19. stillers213 says: Jan 23, 2014 5:28 PM

    They’re going to have to extend halftime to ensure enough time to finish their pizza and skittles.
    At least it should help take the edge off roid rage.

  20. oldcracker says: Jan 23, 2014 5:38 PM

    Good! And being pro-active, I’ve been treating myself for the last 45 years, just in case I ever get a concussion.

  21. raiderspy1 says: Jan 23, 2014 5:42 PM

    Yeh, I bet Goodell would consider it for concussion treatment. How many concussions do you think Goodell would say he has had then. Probably enough to be first in line, you think.

  22. travelingwillies says: Jan 23, 2014 5:42 PM

    Why experiment with mice? Where can I sign up for this marijuana experiment? I’ll fly to Israel right now

  23. bjwbrown2011 says: Jan 23, 2014 5:48 PM

    The plus is that unreported concussions.

    On the other hand if those tv commercials are to be believed: weed decreases your reaction time which will will cause people to get concussed and let them take weed which will slow down their reaction time.

  24. riverhorsey says: Jan 23, 2014 5:48 PM

    Let’s get it legal and at every stadium concession stand. Right on.

  25. td40 says: Jan 23, 2014 5:54 PM

    Ricky Williams eyes a comeback.

  26. goodellhatesfootball says: Jan 23, 2014 5:55 PM

    This is a step in the right direction. Hopefully the league considers allowing pot to be used for others injuries as well. Not that I’m a medical expert, but from what I understand it’s a safer alternative for treating pain than pills such as Vicodin or Percocet, which I imagine a lot of these guys take when they are hurt.

  27. 4greatestvikingever says: Jan 23, 2014 6:13 PM

    Remember back in the 40’s and 50 when players sat on the sidelines smoking? Could we see it again?

  28. scmems07 says: Jan 23, 2014 6:13 PM

    i can imagine the wr’s conversations to the saftey’s…..”HIT ME!!! HIT ME HIGH!!!”

  29. therealraider says: Jan 23, 2014 6:16 PM

    We were always taught that Marijuana killed brain cells, Now it may help with concussions? What kind of quack science have we been led to believe all these years?

  30. musketmaniac says: Jan 23, 2014 6:18 PM

    Goodell goodies, an imagine of him in his office with naked secretaries putting hydro in dental bags. with mike ditka standing over them.

  31. doubleogator says: Jan 23, 2014 6:48 PM

    Works great you forget you had a concussion….

  32. clownsfan says: Jan 23, 2014 6:54 PM

    Yo. Some of the sticky these boys are smokin could INDUCE a concussion!

  33. MichaelEdits says: Jan 23, 2014 9:12 PM

    I’ve got a sudden powerful craving for some Papa John’s.

  34. blackngold4life says: Jan 23, 2014 10:37 PM

    What’s the other state besides Colorado?

  35. txnative61 says: Jan 24, 2014 2:40 AM

    Marijuana is a psychoactive that opens neural pathways in the brain. Sensations are enhanced, like music, and food, etc., while strategic thinking and muscular coordination suffer. It seems logical to me that immediately after injury it might serve to keep neural pathways open until the swelling and bruising that accompany concussion can heal. There are so many social and legal vested interests on both sides of this drug’s use, some unbiased serious research might actually help some concussed patients avoid tragic long term consequences.

  36. harshedmellow says: Jan 24, 2014 3:42 AM

    Among other things, there’s a lot of emotional wreckage and baggage that comes with a serious TBI. I personally know this to be true. Anxiety, despair, confusion, depression…… yep yep yep and yep. That, of course, is IN ADDITION TO and compounded by, all the other facets of cognitive impairment.

    Laugh, joke, make fun all you want, but if marijuana is used in a medical context to help people through the bleeping WASTELAND that is a significant TBI … then who the hell am I to judge?!

    Then again I’m not opposed to people using a substance to adjust their head for fun, either. I’m drinking a nice PNW IPA, right now, and already looking forward to my coffee tomorrow.

    An NFL football player is living a bad car wreck every week. For the love of God, people. Back off.

  37. linemanguy74 says: Jan 24, 2014 1:24 PM

    Another reason to quit watching the NFL

  38. guest122 says: Jan 27, 2014 3:08 PM

    Don’t wait for the “medical experts” to confirm whether marijuana helps with concussions. Marijuana like other “holistic” health treatments, possibly may not be confirmed by Medical experts. If it helps with concussions, then it should be used.

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