Painkillers A Preemptive Measure For Athletes to Cope With Pain

Federation International Football Association (FIFA), the international group that oversees association football, is concerned that young ballers will follow in the footsteps of their predecessors when it comes to using medication to perform through pain.

The use of painkillers is more rampant now than ever and it helps to mask injuries, enabling players to prolong their stay in the game. But what happens after the game is over?

Painkillers can cause serious kidney damage, especially for football players. Increased sweat and the intensity of the game causes their overactive kidneys to be more susceptible to powerful non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Another concern of using NSAIDS is that they have been linked to heart problems, and the risk increases with prolonged use.

Dr Jiri Dvorak who serves as chief medical adviser for FIFA says that he was disturbed to discover that nearly 40 percent of 2010 World Cup athletes were popping painkillers in order to make it through each game. Some national teams were even passing out three different types of medication per game.

FIFA research indicates that players are taking the pain medications as a preemptive measure to block pain so they can continue to perform. The problem with this is that irreparable tissue damage can occur.

One player, Jens Nowotny, said that players can’t afford to be off the field because of lost income and the potential threat that someone else might take your spot. He says it’s all just part of the game.

Some team physicians fear losing their jobs if they keep a key player on the sidelines too long. Dr. Dvorak fears that this pressure coupled with the sheer availability of pain killers is creating a cycle for abuse.

It’s a negative trend that needs to be addressed soon, he says, or the younger generation will end up perpetuating this destructive cycle.