The NFL legend, Franco Harris, would like to see the league consider making medical marijuana an option for players dealing with pain.
Franco Harris may be an old school football player, but he has a new school mindset when it comes to marijuana and its place in the NFL.
Speaking with Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Harris, a first ballot NFL Hall of Fame running back and four time Super Bowl champion during with decorated years with the Steelers, said that he would like to see the NFL consider adapting medical marijuana use for its players. He added that he doesn’t think players should face discipline from the NFL if they use marijuana for medical purposes states where medical marijuana use is legal.
“I’ve talked to a number of people and I know there have been studies that show the science behind medical marijuana in relation to pain management,” Harris said. “I’ve talked to people who’ve been in pain due to falling off a roof or being in a car accident and they have praised medical marijuana and how it helped them. The science is there to support its benefits with seizures, epilepsy, a lot of different conditions. It’s not addictive and, to me, this is just one of the most important things we can do for people.”
Harris continued: “The NFL is reviewing its position on medical marijuana. They’re really reviewing their whole pain management regimen and how those things are handled, but if you don’t mind me giving you my personal feeling, I feel in any state that has approved medical marijuana, the league should remove medical marijuana from being a banned substance. I feel that recreational marijuana should be a banned substance in the NFL, but medical marijuana has a different composition.”
Rocky Bleier, who with Harris, became second running back duo in NFL history to each rush for over 1,000 yards in the same regular season in 1976, recently described a recent situation where he suffered withdrawal after using pain medication.
“I had a back problem, one of those things where if you moved a certain way, BAM, it would drop me to my knees,” Bleier said. “Eventually they found a cyst and operated, but for awhile they couldn’t find it and in the meantime, I got on OxyContin. After the operation, I didn’t need OxyContin anymore, but oh my god, what a withdrawal! I thought it would be when you stop taking Alleve or Percocet.
“I woke up in the night, disoriented, with sweats, paranoid, standing by the bed. My wife was really frightened. I couldn’t breathe. They rushed me to the hospital. They kept me overnight and I just kind of cold-turkeyed out of it, but all I could think was, ‘Wow, I can see how people get hooked on this. They can’t get rid of them because of the pain it creates.’ That was my feeling.”
While Harris doesn’t know if the NFL will legalize it, he’s happy that he has the option to turn to medical marijuana if he begins to suffer pain as he moves forward in his life. Harris, 67, added that he’s “amazed” that he does not currently deal with pain on a daily basis after a 13-year career in the NFL.
“I will tell you this, if it ever comes to a point where I do need pain management, I’d feel very lucky and happy now that we have medicinal marijuana in Pennsylvania,” he said.
“Pain every day is not good, not a good quality of life, so pain management is very important. I would put it this way. I know the league is starting to have more open discussion on this at this time. And I know what a big step for them. It’s not something they take lightly. I like that it’s open to discussion. I’m hoping that they realize that pain management is very important to current and past players and if past players are going to be involved with medical marijuana and that it’s legal, I don’t see why current players shouldn’t.”
Source: Bryan DeArdo from 247 Sports Pittsburgh
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