Goodell says league would consider marijuana as a concussion treatment

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.

38 responses to “Goodell says league would consider marijuana as a concussion treatment

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.”

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.