KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- There’s no doubt professional football players have pain, just ask the man who spent 11 years as number 61 for the Chiefs, one of the finest centers of the 1990s.
“Just imagine when you’re slipping on the ice. Well, how about slipping on the ice maybe 50, 60 times a game when you’re falling down or getting knocked down,” Tim Grunhard, a retired Chiefs center, said.
Grunhard said they did a lot with ice and heat, anti-inflammatories, and yes, sometimes even opiates.
“Most guys could handle it but there were other guys who couldn’t handle it,” Grunhard said.
He’s talking about addiction, which could be one reason for the announcement that The NFL and NFL Players Association, their union, are forming a joint pain management committee. Among the plans are to “conduct research concerning pain management and alternative therapies.”
The league’s Chief Medical Officer told the Washington Post that marijuana will be among the alternative therapies they’ll look at.
Dr. Muhammad Farhan specializes in pain medicine at Truman Medical Center’s University Health.
“THC can be useful in certain types of pain conditions to treat nausea and vomiting in cancer pain,” Farhan said.
But there are also negative side effects with THC and a whole lot of unknowns.
One concern when compared to pharmaceuticals is quality control. How much are you getting? Or heck, how much do you need?
“Because of the lack of the studies, what will be the dose of the THC? What will be the frequency of it? What formulation are they going to use? So those are the questions to which we still need answers,” Farhan said.
“The NFL and the NFLPA working together is the best thing that could happen with this pain management. And maybe working in CBD and other pain-relieving avenues that are more natural,” Grunhard said.
Grunhard had success recently with CBD, the non-psychoactive component in the hemp plant. So much success that he signed on to be a paid spokesman for American Shaman. It’s legal, but usually has trace amounts of THC so players won’t take the risk of possible suspension.
“Right now, the retired guys are doing it and they’re solving their pain,” Grunhard said.
Dr. Farhan has a different reason to celebrate the announcement, research.
“Until or unless there is an incentive for a pharmaceutical company, they are not going to fund it,” Farhan said.
In this case, the incentive to fund research would be players who make a lot of money for the league pushing to see it happen.