NFL and pain: Fleeting glory, bodies past repair

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 22, 2012 - 6:51 AM

For years, players under pressure to play have taken painkillers. The repercussions have set off alarms in the NFL.

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atlmikeAug. 19, 12 1:46 AM

the cliche "it's a business" certainly applies. i watched "hard knocks-KC chiefs" a few years ago and a DB had a torn biceps. he told the camera he had to practice because there were all sorts of players waiting to take his job. when he was warming up, the GM Petersen came up to him and gave him an "attaboy" for playing. the players are a short-term investment, nothing more.

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alanam8Aug. 19, 12 3:59 AM

The idea that an NFL game is packed with guys who took pre-game painkillers so they can't feel anything is pretty chilling. It's a bit of an arms race, ie "Your guys can't feel it when my guys hit them, so I'm gonna make sure my guys can't feel it when your guys hit us." Nothing good can come of that. Makes me wonder if the game would look any different if the NFL banned the practice.

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jeffportAug. 19, 12 5:29 AM

People and players also forget to talk about the fact that players wanted to keep playing even when injured because they did not want to lose their starting jobs and consequently the big bucks that can eventually go with it. So, lets not put the entire blame on the business "Culture" without adding in players. Yes it's a business but these players are adults and as such should understand the risks associated with this violent game they play. It's a risk reward game they are playing. Some win, some lose. The winners get a pretty decent living for 3-7 years maybe longer then leave with the money, Some lose and maybe go away with an injury that will change their lives. So lets stop blaming the NFL.

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fmackenAug. 19, 12 6:06 AM

Everybody wants to act like injuries and pain are some kind of surprise or that somehow the league is conspiring to hide these issues. Here is a revelation...250 lb guys going wide open in pads at each other is going to create injuries and pain. These players make a deal with their eyes wide open to trade dollars for the result. If they don't want to accept the repercussions they shouldn't play. There are plenty of people faced with these kinds of decisions everyday who don't need to make somebody else into scapegoats.

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Willy53Aug. 19, 12 7:00 AM

As with the article on injuries to very young players, I think it goes back to the beginning of their involvement with football. Every player should be made aware at a young age that football is immediately risky to thier bodies and that risk will turn into a certainy the farther they climb the competition ladder. Trouble is, by the time some reach high school they are already on a track that will get them to college and some, hopefully beyond. At that point, they are less likely to change their focus as the game has become something of a professional aspiration or at least a ticket to college. I just think their has to be more of an institutional acknowledgement of the certainty of injuries and early joint deterioration from the moment players begin the sport and escalating exponentially at every new level.

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stoneageAug. 19, 12 7:37 AM

Football (American) is going to fade away slowly. The NFL machine will keep it going with cash infusions at the expense of local cities duped into paying for facilities for their game, but he eventual lawsuits for brain damage and early death (suicides) will be the turning point. The movement has already started in the youth leagues, that are diminishing because parents are not allowing their children to be damaged. Can't come too soon for me.

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munsterlandrAug. 19, 12 7:49 AM

Adults addicted to watching grown men largely on performance enhancing drugs play a child's game for millions of dollars should be ashamed of themselves. What example are they giving to the young adults they drag to see these spectacles?

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owatonnabillAug. 19, 12 8:05 AM

I don't question the factualness of this piece. It looks very well researched and put together. I DO, however, question the premise that full disclosure regarding medications would make a difference. Many professional athletes take steroids to enhance strength and performance, the the disastrous long-term effects of steroids has been known for decades. Nor would limiting the drugs players get through the team necessarily be a limiting factor on the drugs they actually end up taking. I'm all for full disclosure and closely regulating prescription drugs, but when you're playing a sport where a "career" and consequently your earning power spans only a few years, you're going to do whatever it takes to perform. It's about the money. Always has been.

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akornAug. 19, 12 8:06 AM

"Mothers (and fathers), don't let your babies grow up to be football players..." -Willie NelsonHave them play soccer instead.

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eman2001Aug. 19, 12 8:16 AM

Another reason why men earn more and are disposable when they don't.

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