Professional sports offer glory like no other endeavor, but the pain that lurks underneath every kick, collision, and concussion is often too great to ignore.
In the NFL alone, there have been over 200 reported concussions every year since 2012. These can lead to prolonged brain issues like memory loss and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), not to mention years of debilitating pain.
An exposé in the Washington Post reveals that in 2010, over half of the teams in the NFL were allowing their trainers to dole out prescription meds even if they weren’t supposed to be doing so. Even two years later, the problem raged on. Each team, on average, was administering over 2,200 doses of controlled substances annually.
Statistics like these can lead to a crisis that goes well beyond the initial pain.
In the past twenty years, almost three-quarters of a million Americans have died as a result of drug overdoses. In 2017, 68% of these lethal ODs were attributed to opioids. That figure is six times what it was in 1999, which means that the epidemic of painkiller abuse and over-prescription is multiplying at an exponential rate.
How can players help reverse this frightening and dangerous trajectory? By embracing the benefits of CBD.
When ESPN surveyed 226 professional football players, a healthy majority of them (61%) agreed that cannabis products could help reduce the need for potent anti-inflammatory drug injections like Toradol.
In addition to curbing the rise of toxic medications, some studies believe CBD can actually help treat athletes already suffering from CTE and other brain related injuries. One of the leading proponents of this sea change in attitudes and acceptability is Marvin Washington…
In addition to playing for the New York Jets for 11 seasons, Washington has earned accolades in his post-NFL career as well. As a board member of Athletes for Care, Marvin advocates for cannabis as a safe alternative to more addictive pain medications. He even went to Capitol Hill to fight former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his draconian drug policies.
“If the NFL still wants to be the No. 1 sports league in the world,” argued Washington, “they have to settle these issues… Canada is about to go legal, Mexico is about to go legal, it’s putting a lot of pressure on the United States.”
When you truly believe in a cause, you’re willing to lose everything for it. Such is the case with Eugene Monroe, the former Baltimore Raven who got fired for openly admitting to marijuana use in 2016. He was the first NFL player to make such a declaration, and it cost him his livelihood.
“It was time to really start talking about something that could save people’s lives,” argues Monroe. Regarding the toxic painkillers that are far too prevalent in the sport that he loves, Eugene goes on to say, “Those are powerful drugs. Many people who take them get addicted. There’s no secret: It’s one of the deepest issues in our country right now.”
Pivoting from the problem to the solution, Monroe continues, “There’s really only one step to take… It’s to remove marijuana from the banned substance list. There’s no law forcing the NFL to maintain that archaic policy. It’s a simple change.”
Eugene’s tireless efforts to replace synthesized painkillers with CBD has led to his ascension to the board of directors at HealthyUNow, so his end-zone run has just begun.i
The disastrous effects of multiple concussions can plague an individual long after they retire from professional sports. At age 60, David Ahrens is an outspoken advocate of CBD because he wishes it had been an option during his active years. “I have taken more pain pills in that time than most people have in their lifetime,” says Ahrens about his 1981-1990 domination on the field. “All the doctors ever gave us was codeine… In the beginning of my career, it was handed out like candy. We had to play. There was no care about player health—only your performance was important.”
But football isn’t the only contact sport that has necessitated the search for a better pain management solution. These NHL players have also discovered the benefits of CBD as a relief from their years of sports injury trauma…
Having survived over 250 fistfights as a professional hockey player, Riley Cote knows how to stand up for himself. He is also a fierce warrior when it comes to CBD evangelizing. “I quickly realized it wasn’t just helping with my brain health, but it also added another dimension to my sleep, and its subtle calming nature helped with anxiety,” assesses Cote.
But Riley doesn’t consider himself a special case, just because he trounced the competition for eight seasons as a Philadelphia Flyer. “It doesn’t matter who you are. We all have to manage these things to live a higher quality of life without taking a bunch of pharmaceuticals that typically create dependency and addiction.”
A veteran of the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ryan VandenBussche had it all. He was skating at the top of his game, he was an NHL star for nine years, and he seemed too tough to fall.
But the truth was far more painful.
“As athletes, we were given opiates by our team doctors,” recalls VandenBussche. “Looking back after years gone by, I’m surprised I’m still alive.”
He now owns a 64-acre cannabis farm and extols the virtues of CBD for a new generation of athletes and wellness enthusiasts. In addition to helping sports stars with muscle maintenance and inflammation regulation.
Truly, the spectrum of CBD’s potential uses spans the imagination mightily. Whether you’re an athlete, a veteran, a person with everyday anxiety, or just someone who believes in owning your truth, we want to hear from you. Reach out and connect with us; don’t just stand on the sidelines.