by Matt Bowen
December 13, 02012
Getting a Toradol injection in the NFL is similar to buying sliced turkey or ham or roast beef at your local deli. Grab a number and wait in line. That’s the drill.
Toradol (or "Vitamin T" in the locker room) is a pain masking drug that NFL players take on Sundays.
I used to come early to the stadium to go through a standard routine. Get tapped, stretch, warm-up and then take a shot. Same thing every Sunday at the tail end of my journeyman career.
Three years in a row. Take the shot and then put my game pants on. A dose of "Vitamin T" as it is called in NFL locker rooms.
The line was long and no one asked questions. Team doctors openly talked about Toradol. Hey, it was expected if you were hurting to get an injection and mask the pain for three hours on a Sunday or Monday night.
For me, it almost became a mental exercise before kickoff. I had blown an ACL in the ’04 season and felt Toradol would erase any discomfort for three hours on gameday. So, about 30 minutes before we took the field, I made sure I got the shot.
How has the game changed? It hasn’t. But the league now wants players to sign a medical waiver before taking the shot. I get it. All players should when the league wants to protect themselves of any and all liability. Educate the players. Give them options. Show them what could possibly happen if you take Toradol.
However, does it really matter?
Players aren’t going to read that medical waiver nor do they honestly think of the future impact the drug could have on their post-career lives. And without trying to sound like some meathead athlete, that’s the best way I can put it.
Mike Florio over at Pro Football Talk had a good take when he wrote this on the topic:
"As a practical matter, the players who want the shot won’t be studying the document and conducting research and contemplating risks and weighing alternatives. They just want the shot. So like clicking “yes” at the bottom of the never ending terms-of-service scroll for the latest iTunes update, the players will do whatever they have to do to get the shot."
That’s the truth. In that long line of players waiting their turns to get the shot (we went by seniority so veterans moved to the front of the line) the only thing on your mind is taking the shot to get through a Sunday afternoon. You just don’t think of the possible long-term ramifications as a player with the pain drug. You take the shot so you can play and produce and do your job.
Like many topics that are now discussed and examined in the NFL culture by the media (concussions come to mind), players will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure they are in pads and playing at a high enough level to survive in the league.
A medical waiver? Come on.
I would have signed that thing no matter what was written on it. And I bet the majority of my teammates would have done the same.
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