American football players are seen as heroes who exemplify the American dream, but should the image of football be protected rather than the players? Is medical cannabis for athletes what’s needed to save the game?
The image of an NFL player is the ultimate tough guy. He earns big money playing the sport Americans love to watch most. It is suppose to be every little boy’s dream to play NFL pro bowl one day. But there’s a dark side to it all. Metro.usreports on what Jake Plummer has to say about the sport, its injuries, coping with injuries and the possible solution cannabis holds.
Football at risk
American football is at risk of becoming a sport like horse racing, which had its heyday and then dwindled into a fringe sport. Ironically, cannabis is the medicine that might be able to save the sport and its players, but medical cannabis for athletes remains one of the eight illegal substances according to NFL standards.
Research is showing medicinal cannabis could offer pain relief to current and former players. Most importantly, CBD could protect players from CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease caused by concussion or trauma to the brain.
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CBD stabilizes brain injury
CBD, or cannabidiol, has showed it stabilizes the brain after injury. Prof. Michael Hoffer, of Miami Miller School of Medicine, otolaryngology, says only a few brain cells might be injured when concussion, or trauma is inflicted upon the brain, but the cells around them are at a very high risk because of a domino effect. If those brain cells can be stabilized, it helps a lot. This is what CBD does.
Former NFL quarterback, Jake Plummer, is part of a campaign “When the bright lights fade” to raise money for studies to be conducted on the benefits of this form of medical cannabis for athletes.
Some opioids are also banned
Plummer says if he has to guess, he would say 80-90% of NFL football players use some kind of drug to help them cope with the challenges of the game. Apart from pain caused by injuries, stress and anxiety takes its toll through the season. He says there are a lot of drugs in the league, and when players retire, they keep taking drugs, be it cannabis, or opioids such as Percocet. The FDA was advised that drugs such as Percocet have a very high likelihood of overdose. It is banned by the USADA.
Medical cannabis for athletes is the safer option
Many, including Plummer, believe that marijuana is a much safer option for pain management when compared to opioids or other painkillers NFL players use. He says it is the healthiest option, and he would like people to understand that. Plummer says that more and more proof of the benefits of medical cannabis for athletes keeps emerging. What players put their bodies through in a season is unbelievable, and they should be able to choose what medicine is best for them.
Players get fined or suspended
Marijuana testing has left many players suspended, or receiving fines, although the NFL knows it is the safer option. Plummer says the sporting body is afraid cannabis will damage the image of players. It doesn’t want football players to be perceived by kids as stoners. Ironically, CBD wouldn’t make the players stoned, but the cannabis stigma remains all the same.
The NFL wants its players to act as role models for future players. But the reality is that there’s no reason why they shouldn’t continue to do so while still using CBD.
Cannabis-based medication could be what’s needed to save the game and its players.