Pain and physical punishment have long been part of professional football. Injuries to the neck and back, as well as the shoulders and the knees are common and have long lasting consequences.
Players know that they have to tough it out and endure surgeries and other treatment to stay in the game. They also know that if they can no longer play, there is always another player waiting to replace them. Part of the methods used to treat their injuries included opioid medications, which as we now understand are highly addictive, expensive and non curative.
After retirement, chronic pain is common in football players and a significant percentage of players rely on opioids for relief. Many players and retired players deviate from the guidelines for safe usage.
Withdrawal from opioids can be a painful process, since pain often will increase as they begin to reduce their dosages and dependency.
Sure, there are other medications, however, many of these players may be best served by seeing a chiropractor. Chiropractic offers a drug free approach to improving function and reducing pain.
You can read about this in the NY Times article below
For N.F.L. Retirees, Opioids Bring More Pain
A brutal game got them hooked on painkillers. In retirement, they battle addiction. The opioid crisis courses through football.
By Ken Belson
Feb. 2, 2019
Earl Campbell, a former All-Pro running back in the N.F.L., said the first painkillers he took came in a small brown packet that a trainer gave him on the team plane. The former lineman Aaron Gibson received his first painkillers in his rookie year after undergoing shoulder surgery. Randy Grimes, a former center, started taking Vicodin and Halcion, a sleeping pill, in his second season to get through full-contact practices.
Like hundreds of former N.F.L. players, Campbell, Gibson and Grimes said they never took painkillers in college, or at any time before they entered the league. Yet as professionals, they regularly used the pills to continue playing, and even in retirement, their pill-popping habits persisted, sending them on haunting, shattering journeys into opioid addiction. It has taken years of struggle, money and anguish in order to heal.
Putting up with pain — a lot of it — has for decades been central to the bargain of playing for glory and money in the N.F.L., the biggest stage in American sports. To do that, countless players have long ingested far more pills than they should. In recent years though, N.F.L. players, especially linemen, have gotten significantly larger, and pain medication has become far more potent and addictive, with devastating consequences.