Posted January 23, 2014

Roger Goodell: NFL may allow medical marijuana if it helps with concussions

NFL safety, Roger Goodell
Marijuana currently falls under the NFL's banned-substance list.

Marijuana currently falls under the NFL’s banned-substance list. (Jin Lee/AP)

Commissioner Roger Goodell might be willing to think outside the box when it comes to helping NFL players deal with head injuries. During a panel Thursday for the league’s “Head Health Challenge”, Goodell said that the league would continue looking for ways to improve its players’ health, including the possible use of medical marijuana.

“I’m not a medical expert,” Goodell said, according to USA Today. “We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that. Our medical experts are not saying that right now.”

McCANN: Among players and agents, there is growing support for allowing players to use marijuana

That’s a possible development likely a long way off, if it ever has a shot of taking hold in the NFL. Currently, recreational marijuana usage falls under the league’s banned-substance list and players can be suspended up to four games for a first offense. The topic was made slightly more newsworthy from the league’s perspective because the Broncos and Seahawks both reside in states where recreational marijuana use is now legal.


Attempting to reduce the number of head injuries suffered league-wide has been a primary cause of Goodell’s tenure.

Earlier this season, The MMQB published a report entitled “Head Trauma in Football: A Special Report,” which took an in-depth look at some of the issues facing Goodell and the league as well as the sport’s future in general.

In August of 2013, 35 years after Sports Illustrated ran a cover story of “Brutality: The Crisis in Football,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello reiterated the league’s focus on reducing serious injuries of all sorts.

“Is the game safer than it was 35 years ago, or even five years ago? We would say yes, just based on the rule changes that prohibit a variety of dangerous techniques that were once allowed,” he said. “There are injuries in any sport, whether it’s a ‘contact’ sport or [not]. Things happen, accidents, all sorts of non-contact knee injuries.

“It’s a risk in any physical activity, from running to riding a bike, playing lacrosse or soccer or football. Our mission is to continue to evolve the game, to make it better and safer.”

24 comments
LynnDunn
LynnDunn

Seriously? The U.S. government has a patent on cannabis as a neuroprotectant!  #6630507...how much more proof is necessary?  What is wrong with this country?  Cannabis used to be the third most prescribed medicine before it was demonized by greedy men!



Rick Rosio
Rick Rosio

We are building a pilot model of healing and wellness using CBD blended cannabis extracts for our Combat Veterans who suffer many of the same head injuries that the professional athletes experience. We have reached out to the NFL to provide insight and a program model that can help the current players and the retired members use less opiates and have a better quality of life for the men who gave much to this nation in their profession.  www.veteransforcompassionatecare.org  this is our pilot program that can help with TBI and CTE, provide opiate reduction for long term pain issues and allow the quality of life to improve for the NFL players and their teams...

Rick Rosio

CHR Groups... Veterans for Compassionate Care


Fifilo
Fifilo

The players get pumped with serious narcotics so the owners can make their money. But that's, Mr. Fidel Goodell? Hate the NFL and everything it has become.

TheHip1
TheHip1

I don't see why the NFL and other professional sports teams insist on players using 'prescription' meds, when  a natural alternative is available. I think it has much less to do with the 'evils' of smoking pot, and more to do with Pharmaceutical company kickbacks. End the reefer madness mentality

MontresArmbanduhren
MontresArmbanduhren

Can you imagine the weekly injury reports?  They'll be FILLED with probables due to glaucoma and carpal tunnel syndrome.  I wonder if the NFL is prepared to take carpal tunnel as seriously as concussions because carpal is gonna be on the rise, fools.

MrArlington
MrArlington

Just allow them to smoke pot for pleasure. Don't drag it down to this dumb BS "if it help's their concussions" blah, blah, blah, blah.

RobertSmith
RobertSmith

I see a lot of scrips being written around the league.

TrevorCarslay
TrevorCarslay

So does that mean Brandon Browner will be cleared to play in Super Bowl 48?

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Professional sports only exist because of the alcohol business.  While I don't have the percentages, and I looked some, it is clearly the major player. So we know there is no concern for safety for the consumer on the part of the sports leagues. The good news there is that once teams allow 'medical marijuana' it will be advertised on air. Once the advertisers smell that money they will lobby (i.e. pay off) politicians to make it more widely available. I see that as very good because I think pot should have been legalized 40 years ago. Pot gives a nice gentle buzz. No one looks for a fight when stoned. 

Or so Ive been told.

sunalsorises
sunalsorises

It will be licensed exclusively by the NFL and sold to players in exchange for an 18 game regular season and an additional 2 rounds in the playoffs.  Goodell will also make NFL buds available in the NFL store so people can smoke the same weed as their favorite players.

x72
x72

Entire US of A needs to legalize it.

biasedsportsfan
biasedsportsfan

This makes sense except for the grand-standing about whether or not it would help 'concussion' symptoms. So if it helps with concussions fine, but if the docs say it helps with other stuff, no deal...

EricVonHollen
EricVonHollen

The NFL should stay out of federal and state issues

doohan
doohan

As a supporter of cannabis legalization, I believe the whole medical marijuana issue is a farce. It probably has no use for concussions unless it is used to make headaches more manageable, but it certainly is less dangerous than alcohol or opiates, and probably even NSAIDs. With a little historical perspective, we will look back at the war on drugs as a complete fiasco which has done tremendous harm to our nation.

espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

Many of the largest sponsors of the NFL are beer companies.  Alcohol is advertised and glorified within the sport and yet kills tens of thousands of people a year.  Weed on the other hand doesn't,  its legalized now in 2 states, has been decriminalized for over a decade in Colorado....its time to let it go.  Players all smoke anyway 

MyDogWally
MyDogWally

Honestly, I think the NFL should just forget about testing for marijuana, medical or otherwise.  It's not a performance-enhancing drug, and it's far less potentially ruinous in a person's life than is alcohol.

JimJakato
JimJakato

@Rickapolis Oh ya foo?  I gonna kick yo butt around the block, beech. Yo mama wears army boots, yo daddy wears panties in the house.  Pot do not five  a buzz no mo'  Afta' weed, I need black tar heroin now, it b a stepin' drug man, Do heroin b on the NFL list too?  IT betta b or I gonna kick der ax 2.

badflounder
badflounder

@Rickapolis No, they only exist because of the gambling business.  Alcohol is up there too, but gambling is far and away #1.

badflounder
badflounder

@x72 It's happening....Colorado and Washington just got into the party early.

RobertSmith
RobertSmith

@doohan I don't think we need any more historical perspective than we have.  Whether it is today's War on Drugs or the Prohibition Era for alcohol, the criminalization of minor drugs like cannabis and alcohol has had nothing but negative outcomes for society.

badflounder
badflounder

@MyDogWally Could not agree more.  Alcohol is, in fact, a poison.  MJ is an herb, man.