Football is a great game and it is a perfect game for Americans because we like tough athletic games where people also have to think to win. The NFL, however, may not be thinking everything through as thoroughly as it should be. Players get injured constantly and the players go into the sport knowing that their chances of being injured at some point is almost inevitable. The NFL owners and the executives who run the professional football league also are quite aware of the injurious nature of the fast moving, head splitting, bone-breaking game. But are they doing anything to really help the players who are in pain and perhaps need a bit more time to heal before they jump in the huddle after a physical mishap?

We think not. The old habit of passing out painkillers to get the players back on the filed faster only prolongs the injury and develops drug addictions in the players. Some players, including Derrick Morgan, a linebacker with the Tennessee Titans, are speaking out against the old way of doing things and calling for change in the way players’ injuries are treated. Morgan and eight former NFL players all signed a letter with Doctors for Cannabis Regulation pointing out that medical marijuana may be a viable alternative to the current pain management programs of the NFL.

They are concerned with the players’ long term safety and feel that CBD oil, a hemp and medical marijuana derivative, can be useful to players who are injured because it possesses neuroprotective qualities, which can head off future diseases that injured players are prone to such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. They also feel that more options should be given to the players instead of only relying on opioid painkillers for pain relief, since 71% of players who were prescribed opioids ended up abusing narcotic painkillers. Medical marijuana, they feel, is a substantial alternative because it is a proven painkiller and it is not addictive and players cannot overdose on it. In other words, no one has died from overdosing on marijuana while opioid overdoses have killed thousands.

Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, was asked if medical marijuana was going to be used as part of the overall treatment for pain in the NFL and he basically said that the league doctors were looking at the idea and if the policies can be improved to help the players, then they will look at it. Okay, then…it sounds like there is a little wiggle room in that answer and perhaps Derrick Morgan and the other players may, at some point, be able to use medical cannabis and CBD oil for treatment of injuries. Maybe the NFL is growing up. Who Knew?