In the middle of the NFL free agency signing period this month, the Washington Post and later Deadspin released details of a new lawsuit filed by former NFL players saying the league has a massive pain drug problem. The lawsuit claims NFL trainers were pumping players full of these drugs in violation of federal law and long-time Buffalo Bills trainer Bud Carpenter is quoted in the lawsuit.
“Bud Carpenter, the Bills’ long-time trainer, corroborated certain of the foregoing allegations at his deposition when he admitted under oath that he witnessed team doctors give players injections of prescription medication without telling them what the drug was they were receiving or its side effects, or for that matter, provide any related warnings and was not aware of anyone providing any warnings related to Toradol prior to 2010.”
Toradol holds a special place in the NFL’s player maintenance tool kit. SB Nation profiled the drug and the side effects last year if you would like more information. Essentially, Toradol blocks the pain but isn’t an opiode, so it doesn’t have the same addiction risk.
The bigger concern than the Toradol epidemic, though, is the complete lack of information being given to players. Without knowing side effects and warnings, it’s difficult for them to make a decision (even if a decision is offered). Other medications were also dispensed in violation of laws.
“[Carpenter] further testified that doctors provided prescription medications at places other than where they were allowed to do so in violation of federal and state laws,” continued the report. “He could not identify a single instance in which a player received any warning about a medication or consented to risks that had been identified to him before receiving the medication. He further testified that he wished things had been done differently.”
The NFL has made somewhat of an effort since the first of these allegations came out in 2010, but it’s hard to believe that things have improved dramatically. In 2013, an astounding 9-in-10 NFL players said they didn’t trust their team’s medical staff in an NFLPA survey released by the Washington Post.
Carpenter has been the Bills trainer for more than 30 years. His deposition wasn’t nearly as bad as other revelations made in the entire Deadspin report. Other teams openly spoke about going out of their way to defy federal investigations and more.