The Mail reports that a huge proportion of footballers are swallowing painkillers before matches – indeed, that nearly 40 per cent of players in the 2010 World Cup did so:
England’s footballers could be among those putting their careers and their health at risk at the European Championship over what has been described as painkiller ‘abuse’ by FIFA’s chief medical officer.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine has labelled it ‘potential disastrous practice’ but the Football Association refused to be drawn on the issue, even though the comments made by Dr Jiri Dvorak apply to all 16 nations in Poland and Ukraine.
In a study Dvorak found that 39 per cent of players at the 2010 World Cup were taking pain medication prior to every game; in particular anti- inflammatories that enable a footballer to play with an existing injury.
I wonder how many of these painkillers are opiate-based – and how many footballers develop a dependence on pills. I’m not denying that sports injuries can be agonising; but the use of painkillers as a preventative measure is closely related to the use of tranquillisers to ward off rather than treat anxiety. As The Fix emphasises, medication is just as potent a source of addiction as risk-taking experimentation.
The question is: once these footballers retire, will they keep themselves topped up with Nurofen Plus (or something stronger) in order to treat minor aches – and, perhaps, to continue enjoying that soothing opiate high? Here’s a warning note from America:
Doctors are seeing an increase in the number of current and former NFL players who are either addicted or physically dependent on painkillers. One doctor who treats athletes with addiction problems says pain medications are “10 times more common in sports than steroids.”
Prescription narcotics fall into the category of opioids, which include powerful drugs like morphine, codeine and heroin. Opioids attach to receptors in the central nervous system and prevent the brain from receiving pain messages. They also produce feelings of euphoria, and a”high” that many people using these drugs begin to crave. Long-term use of opioids, however, can alter immune system function and, ironically, increase pain sensitivity. Athletes often build up a tolerance to a given dose of the medication, thereby requiring more and more of the drug to get the same effect.
Posted in: Drugs, Pills
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