Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league could change its position on marijuana use by players if medical studies determine that its use can help players dealing with concussions.
Plenty of players and others already use it to help manage pain, illicitly or with a prescription in an area where medical marijuana is legal, and it has been a popular topic of questions for both the Broncos and the Seahawks after they made their way from the only two states where recreational use is legal to the Super Bowl.
Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said that he thinks it might be helpful from a medicinal point of view, but also sees the potential for abuse and is something he’ll avoid unless and until there’s a change in the rules. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll agrees with Goodell that the league needs to follow the lead of the medical community in order to find ways to take the best care of players.
“We have to continue to explore and compete to find ways that are going to make our game a better game and take care of our players in the best way possible,” Carroll said. “The fact that it’s in the world of medicine is obviously something the Commissioner realizes and him making the expression that we need to follow the information and the research absolutely I’m in support of. Regardless of what other stigmas may be involved, I think we have to do this because the world of medicine is trying to do the exact same thing and figure it out and they’re coming to some conclusions.”
Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson is also a supporter, a view which may be informed by his experiences this season. Robinson suffered from kidney and liver failure due to a bad reaction to a prescription anti-inflammatory, missed much of the season while recovering and thinks that looking into alternative treatment options is a must for the league and the players.
“I think anything that can make our job a little easier without sacrificing our health at the same time is good for the league, it’s good for players,” Robinson said. “I’m all for alternative forms of recovery and all those types of things – hyperbaric chambers, o-zoning, whatever it may be. So, I’m all for it. Whatever can help the player, I’m for.”
Removing marijuana from the list of banned substances would be made easier by widespread changes to laws in states and at the federal level, a process that probably won’t be a particularly quick one. The same can be true of medical research as well, which may mean that things remain in the conversation stage a little longer when it comes to changing league polices in this area.