ABC News today released the results of a survey in which they polled the top 25 college football teams in America about their use of Toradol, a painkiller which has come under fire because of potential side effects including increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and organ damage.
The results are enlightening, or not, depending on your perspective. That's because fully 16 of the 25 refused to respond to the short two question survey which asked simply whether schools used the injectable drug (also known as Ketolorac in generic form) and whether they had measures in place to monitor athletes use of painkillers. Georgia responded that it does not use Toradol, and that it does monitor student-athletes' use of painkillers. San Jose State was alone among school's in admitting that it uses Toradol injections and that, no, the school does not track it's athletes painkiller use. Ohio State responded that it does not use Toradol prophylactically, leaving open the possibility that the drug might be used to treat diagnosed injury. Nebraska cited a series of criteria for use of Toradol. But the clear majority of schools, including SEC powers Florida, Alabama, LSU, and South Carolina either declined to participate or flat out didn't respond.
To be fair to the nonresponding schools, many of them cited a reluctance to answer because of healthcare privacy concerns. I don't buy that rationale, because of course they were not asked to divulge information about any specific student athletes. This response is the same as asking an orthopedist whether he performs total knee replacements and being told that he can't tell you. It's not the law, and in some cases it's probably an excuse not to answer an uncomfortable question. But in other cases it was probably an honest attempt by some harried staffer to comply with student privacy laws. I can't say for sure.
But I can say for sure that I derive a little bit of satisfaction from the fact that Ron Courson and his staff were at least willing to go on record on this issue. Admittedly, the bulk of medical evidence seems to indicate that sporadic and/or short term Toradol injection of healthy young athletes poses relatively few risks. However, it's one less thing to worry about knowing that should the evidence on that point begin tilting in the other direction the Bulldog athletic staff won't be among those being asked questions they can no longer decline to answer.
ABC's investogation was sparked in part by the lawsuit recently filed by former USC defensive lineman Armand Armstead, who claims he suffered a heart attack as a result of Toradol injections he received while playing for the Trojans. You can see more of the story here, including a Southern Cal staffer shooing ABC reporters out of the Coliseum because they were making Lane Kiffin "uncomfortable." I assume, by transitive reasoning, this means that Paul Johnson will soon be receiving a Pulitzer. Until later . . .