In a new lawsuit, former NFL players allege that teams illegally supplied painkillers to mask injuries and keep them on the field and one former broadcaster and coach claims that practice extends to the broadcast booth.
“I know an announcer that goes down to the locker room to get a Toradol shot before a game,” John Madden said in his “Daily Madden” segment on KCBS. “I think he goes at a different time [than the players], you know, he gets there early, you know, that type of thing. But he’s gotten Toradol shots.”
Madden didn’t identify the broadcaster and his comment is going to set off a torrent of speculation.
Toradol (ketorolac), an injectible non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, has been around since 1989 for post-surgical pain, but long-term use can cause the kind of kidney damage Newberry says he has. “If my kidneys get any worse, I’ll be on dialysis,” Newberry said. “If they get a lot worse I’ll be looking for a kidney transplant.”
The Washington Post’s Rick Maese and Sally Jenkins examined the issue in an April 2013 investigation.
The league’s widespread use of Toradol, in particular, offers a window on the game’s reliance on pills and needles. In The Post survey of retired players, 50 percent of those who retired in the 1990s or later reported using the controversial painkiller during their careers; roughly seven out of 10 who left the game in 2000 or later said they used the drug.
A 2000 survey of NFL physicians found that 28 of 30 teams used Toradol injections on game days. Another study two years later found an average of 15 pregame injections per team. Players describe pregame lines of as many as two dozen players deep waiting for a shot or a pill. “No doubt about it, I was in that line,” Hall of Famer Warren Sapp said. “They’re like Tic Tacs. You walked in, you got it and you played the game.”