A joint committee run by the NFL and the NFL Players Association has reportedly recommended players avoid the controversial drug Ketorolac, commonly taken for managing pain on game days.
The drug, often referred to by the brand name Toradol, has long been administered to players during and after games to manage pain, and, in some cases, even before games to suppress pain before it set in.
In a memo sent by the league's Joint Pain Management Committee this week, players are advised to avoid Toradol for day-to-day pain management, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Instead, the drug is meant to be used for only cases of extreme pain following an acute injury or surgery, the statement says, and should only be taken orally. It has often been administered to football players by injection.
The announcement comes just weeks after former All-Pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth revealed he had successfully received a kidney transplant, which he claimed became necessary after years of abusing pain management drugs, including Toradol.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) has "side effects that can be very dangerous," which are more likely to appear when it is taken in larger doses over longer periods of time.
Many players have long aired concerns about a culture that some say encourages athletes to sacrifice their long-term health in order to feel well enough to play and collect a paycheck in the short term.
The move is seemingly in keeping with the NFL's apparent interest in changing its culture around pain management and prescription drugs. Last year the league effectively stopped testing players for cannabis and called for further research into its applications for medicine and pain management.