Care needed in covering NFL drug policy


The risks and benefits of marijuana use to treat injuries has become a major debate in National Football League circles. With the recent increase in awareness about concussions, marijuana is being looked at as an option to treat these often-occurring injuries.

While most NFL reporters are familiar covering statistics from games, this issue brings a political discussion that is taking place in our government right now.

Journalists must approach this topic with caution, as there is no concrete evidence to suggest that it is either helpful or harmful to remedy injuries. It is however time for not only doctors, but journalists to closely examine the effects it could potentially have as a useful substance.

Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks’ Coach Pete Carroll agrees with this notion saying, “the world of medicine is trying to do the exact same thing and figure it out and they’re coming to some conclusions.”

While marijuana might not be a useful medicine to utilize, the addiction to painkillers that many NFL players deal with proves there is a need for change. Former offensive lineman Kyle Turley recalls after games “ The trainers and the doctors used to go down the aisle [of the plane] and say, ‘Who needs what?” in regard to substances such as Vicodin.

While this is a touchy subject to report on, it is critical the news media communicate the findings medical researchers and doctors have about this substance. With the league currently continuing to look for ways to increase player safety, we have to know if they will go to extreme lengths that may be unpopular with fans of the game.

The political argument does not matter if the risks outweigh the benefits. Football is a lethal sport and if the new findings prove any advantages in helping with the injuries that occur, they must be taken advantage of.

There will be reporters scared of the repercussions the NFL might set down on them if they publish a story that negatively affects them, but that does not matter. The people have the right to know what this new-found research proves.

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