Playing in the National Football League is a very rewarding, but stressful job. The competition to get on the field and stay on the field is unimaginable. You have some of the strongest and most agile athletes in the world playing a game that is extremely physical. The players endure constant trauma throughout a game and receive many injuries throughout the season. The need to stay on the field and be there for their team and more importantly to keep their job is extremely stressful. Players are making millions of dollars per year to play the sport. In order to not receive criticism from their team, front office and fans, they must do whatever it takes to stay on the field.
When you play a violent sport such as professional football, the injuries that occur are not always very serious. Broken fingers, wrists, ribs are still considered to be average injuries and most players do not even think about sitting out of a game for them. But how could these players endure so much pain and still able to function at such a high level? According to a federal lawsuit raised in May of 2014 filed on behalf of several prominent NFL players, they allege that team physicians and trainers routinely gave them powerful painkillers in an illegal manner to mask injuries and keep them on the field.
Due to the allegations that were brought out in the federal lawsuit, this past Sunday the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted inspections and interviews with away teams.
"DEA agents are currently interviewing NFL team doctors in several locations as part of an ongoing investigation into potential violations of the Controlled Substances Act," DEA spokesperson Rusty Payne said Sunday. "The Drug Enforcement Administration has a responsibility under the Controlled Substances Act to ensure that registrants who possess, prescribe and dispense controlled substances are following the law," Payne added.
According to a federal law enforcement source, agents were particularly interested in interviewing the San Francisco 49ers who were visiting the New York Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who visited the Washington Redskins. The source said that the DEA had plans of visiting other away teams as well.
"I think it's great that the DEA is taking this seriously. We alleged back on May 20th that the NFL was issuing these controlled substances and prescription medicines in an illegal manner and nobody has really disputed the factual basis of that claim," said Phil Closius, an attorney representing the former NFL players involved in the ongoing federal lawsuit.
The inspections were not raids. They were administrative in nature and were not over intrusive. Although the San Francisco 49ers were inspected, they left New York at their scheduled time of departure.
It will be very interesting to see what kind of information comes out from these interviews and inspections. This will benefit the health of the players in the league and may actually save some players from dependence on painkillers which has been a well documented issue among retired NFL players.