A former Patriot lineman, Ryan O’Callaghan, is now retired from the NFL and contends with a tremendous amount of pain and did during his career as well. He was a member of the storied 2007 Patriot team that nearly went undefeated until losing in the Superbowl to the New York Giants. Seasons like that take a massive physical toll on players and O’Callaghan admits now to becoming addicted to painkillers and that medical marijuana has helped wean him from those addictions.
The NFL recently came out stating that it will research medical marijuana and may permit its use by players in the future. With all of the medical issues NFL players are suffering from, doesn’t it make sense for the NFL to acknowledge the benefits of medical marijuana for its players?
Ryan O’Callaghan, who said he developed an addiction to painkillers that helped him deal with injuries during his NFL career, told USA TODAY Sports he now uses marijuana to treat the pain and that the NFL should change its policy prohibiting players from using the drug.
“For people like me, marijuana is a godsend because you don’t want to take these pills,’’ said O’Callaghan, 33. “Marijuana is not addicting. People who say that have never smoked it. I have an addictive personality. It’s not addictive.’’
Of the NFL’s stance on marijuana, O’Callaghan said, “They know it’s harmless, and it’s not performance enhancing. I’ve known guys who’ve played stoned. Absolutely.
“The NFL can be stressful and there’s not a lot you can do. Smoking a joint’s pretty harmless. It really is. Don’t tell the Attorney General that, but it’s very harmless.’’
In 2011, O’Callaghan said, he sought treatment for addiction and stopped using painkillers after he disclosed to a therapist that he was gay. He publicly acknowledged he is gay in a story that was published June 20.
O’Callaghan, who played offensive tackle for the New Patriots from 2006 to 2008 and for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009 to 2011, said he has a medical marijuana card and sometimes also takes Ibuprofen for an assortment of injuries. He said his left shoulder needs to be replaced after five operations and that he also had surgery on his right shoulder and left hand.
When he climbs into his truck, O’Callaghan lifts his left leg because of a lingering groin injury suffered during his NFL career.
“My body hurts like hell because of football,’’ he said.
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