Washington, DC--In the wake of Tuesday's lawsuit alleging that the National Football League intentionally addicted players to dangerous painkillers, pain management specialist Reza Ghorbani, MD, ABIPP, FIPP says athletes should try safe and effective natural alternatives.
"This case is the latest warning about the risks of over prescribing narcotics and other addicting drugs for pain. Drug use in sports is nothing new. What's different here is the assertion that players were coerced to take drugs so they could play hurt. If true, that's medical malpractice," says Dr. Ghorbani. He is the president and medical director of the Advanced Pain Medicine Institute of Washington, DC.
While prescription painkillers are valuable for unremitting pain, they should be used sparingly, says Dr. Ghorbani, a Harvard trained board certified pain management specialist.
"Why not equip NFL locker rooms, or all training facilities for that matter, with safe, natural pain relievers? They contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that have been used for centuries to ease aches and pains. Crucially important here: they pose no risk of addiction," says Dr. Ghorbani.
The current action involves more than 600 NFL former players—including Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon and Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent— who claim they suffered severe, long-term injuries from drugs that weren't legally prescribed or appropriately given. So far NFL attorneys have declined to comment , but an NFL team physician reportedly said he was surprised by the action, because the league always puts the health of the players first.
What does it take to play in the NFL? Former Dallas Cowboy Pete Gent, a critic of the game, summed it up this way, "My teammates...[possessed] the rare combination of great athletic skill, commitment, dedication, discipline, desire plus the willingness to sacrifice [their] physical, mental and emotional health."
Sports, particularly at the professional level, will never be injury free. That doesn't mean efforts to relieve pain should damage the players' health and undermine the integrity of the game. There is a natural solution that's a win-win for everyone, says Dr. Ghorbani, author of the book "Secrets to a Pain Free Life".