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Mizzou’s Pinkel Talks Up QB Franklin’s Toughness; Time To Switch The Focus From Franklin To Painkillers

On Saturday, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel put his foot in his mouth.  By revealing that starting quarterback James Franklin had refused a painkilling shot in his bum shoulder, the coach laid the groundwork for plenty of people to take potshots at his QB.

Saturday’s comment from the coach came after Corbin Berkstresser had led the Tigers to a 24-20 win over Arizona State.  He was speaking of Franklin and explaining why he didn’t play:

 

“It was too painful for him and he didn’t want to play.”

 

That one sentence — even more than the painkiller bit — caused a stir in the Show-Me State.  Some said Mizzou’s QB must not be tough enough.  Others — and I’m one of them — said Pinkel stepped in it by making that kind of remark in the first place.

Apparently the coach now realizes how his comment was interpreted so he tried to walk it back yesterday:

 

“Anybody that questions James Franklin’s toughnesss, they have to have been in a coma that last two years.  He’s one of the toughest athletes I’ve ever been around.”

 

Better late than never.

Pinkel’s comments would not have been necessary if the SEC or NCAA decided to start putting out NFL-like injury reports on a weekly basis.  If that had been the case, the media would’ve known before Friday afternoon that Franklin was questionable or even doubtful due to a shoulder injury.  Any questions could have been answered by Pinkel with a simple, “his shoulder wasn’t up to it.”

Instead, the coach opened up more than most about his player’s injury and he paid the price for it.  Sadly, so did Franklin’s reputation with some fringe Tiger fanatics.  But the signal-caller told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he didn’t have a problem with his coach.  “I know he didn’t meant anything by it,” Franklin said.  Asked what the pain was like, he said: “like a 10-inch size bumble bee stabbing in there.”

A big bee with a knife?  Sounds pretty painful to me.

Franklin’s father spoke out yesterday and revealed that his family doesn’t believe in painkillers and that that’s how Mizzou’s starting quarterback was raised.  Turns out, Franklin ixnayed a shot to the knee last season, too.

While some have bickered over the desire and toughness of Franklin, the bigger issue that’s going unmentioned is the danger in giving college-age kids painkillers in the first place.  Yes, we know it happens all the time.  Yes, we know it’s gone on for years.  No, we don’t believe it’s a good thing.

Painkillers — shots or pills — can be very addictive and habit-forming in adults.  But with a person in his teens or early twenties, there’s even less history to use as a guide for who should and who shouldn’t be given painkillers.  Some players never have a problem them.  Unfortunately, some do.

We believe it’s time for the NCAA — with its desire to protect student-athletes — to start cracking down on the “take two of these” culture of college football.  That doesn’t mean painkillers should be outlawed altogether, but the meds shouldn’t be handed out like candy, either.  Talk to ex-jocks or their parents and you’ll quickly find out that often times that’s exactly how they’re doled out.

So perhaps some of those billions of dollars that schools will make from a new FBS football playoff can be spent creating a system that better monitors what players are given for pain, how much they’re given, and when they’re given it.

Until then, any fan questioning the toughness of a college athlete should probably zip it.  It’s the player’s body, not yours… not mine.  It’s his.  And Franklin took care of his body as is his right.

Good for him.  And good for Pinkel in finally coming out and trying to stop a debate that he inadvertently started.

We’ll say good for the NCAA if we see them take any steps at all towards studying or further regulating the use of painkillers on college campuses.

Update: Franklin spells out his thinking via Instagram.

 


12 comments
UTMD3
UTMD3

Agreed. My point once again is the we all have to be careful in the use of the term "painkiller". Not all painkillers are the same. Paraphrasing George Orwel; All painkillers are created equal, some are more equal than others. The use of Tordal as analgesic, which is most likely the drug in question, is an accepted part of medicine if agreed upon by patient and doctor. My hat is off to the young man for taking control of his personal medical care. The bigger problem, as you alluded to John, is the over prescribing of oral opiates. It is not just a sports problem, this a societal problem. All you have to do is look at the "pain clinics" springing up on very corner in some the Southern states. This is something I deal with on a professional and personal level daily. Thanks for the good work. 

UTMD3
UTMD3

The drug in question is most likely Toradol (ketorolac ) and is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is not additive but has risks that include increase risk of bleeding, renal dysfunction and bronchospasm. All this said, it is no more dangerous than Motrin. It is important when discussing "painkillers" that apple are compared to apples; opiates vs non-steroidals vs steriods. All have risks and benefits associated with them and oftern are used in combintation.

crew
crew

I agree in general with handing out opioid painkillers, which can be deadly if not taken as prescribed, or consumed with alcohol or other depressant drugs.  They also have the potential for addiction.

 

However, the kind of painkiller mentioned in this article is likely NOT an opioid.  Why?  Because if is uncommon or rare to inject an opioid painkiller into the area of injury.  Pain signals travel from the site of injury to the spinal cord and then to the brain.  Opioid painkillers block the pain signals in the spinal cord or brain, and thus are administered to the bloodstream not the site of injury.

 

Since this case talks about a shot to the affected shoulder, the most likely drug is hydrocortisone.  This is NOT a painkiller at all, but rather an anti-inflamatory drug which speeds recovery.  It does not have addiction potential, does not react in a deadly way with other drugs (by suppressing breathing centers on the brain stem), and does not make you high or alter your state of mind.

 

While I am sure that the issue of handing out opiod painkillers is real and troubling in sports, this case is not one of them.

I4Bama
I4Bama

I agree completely.

MoKelly1
MoKelly1

Nice commentary. You were quite fair to all involved. I very much liked your last comment on good for Coach coming out and trying to stop a debate he inadvertently started. I do believe it was inadvertent. By the way, an article in the Post Dispatch today did say Franklin said he took pain meds after his shoulder surgery. That, I think, is OK as he did not risk hurting himself by playing a football game due to pain meds.

 

YLHMIZ
YLHMIZ

For a university that boasts one of the nation's most prestigious public journalism schools, Mizzou certainly doesn't fare very well when it comes to managing information output. If it isn't T.J. Moe or Sheldon Richardson cavalierly spouting off with bulletin board material, it's Pinkel hamhanding one thing or another. Seriously, Mizzou, it's not that far of a walk from the J School to the athletic compound; please send some professors over there to give these guys a lesson or three on information management and the media. Some of us alumni are getting a little tired of these constant gaffes.

crew
crew

 @UTMD3

 They would not give a Toradol shot in the shoulder, the site of the QB's injury.  Toradol shots are given intramuscularly, usually in the glutes (butt) so it can be slowly absorbed into the blood stream.  Same is true with opioid painkillers, not given in the shoulder.

 

Another article describes QB's injury as bursa in throwing arm = inflamation = prescribed treatment is a steroid shot.  Thinking out of the box, avant-garde treatment might also include the use of Lidocaine, an anethetic, most commonly used in the form of a patch for pain.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

crew...

 

See above.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @MoKelly1 

 

Yeah, that's a completely different beast.  You have surgery -- I did last August -- and you're gonna have to take some pain meds.  The key is numbing the body before a game.  I think Franklin was smart to avoid that stuff.

 

I took a cortisone shot six months ago for a torn meniscus... but I'm not going out and running on that knee for three hours every Saturday.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

UTMD3
UTMD3

I did not say Toradol is given in the joint, it is given intramuscularly. The reporting from other sources indicates the the young man and family turned down two different medications, most likely an injection in the joint of steriods at some time at the beganing of the week and later a "painkiller" the day of the game which which is most likely Toradol. You would not give a pure steriod injection just before activity in joint, it would have little time to reduce inflammation.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @UTMD3 

 

We seem to have gotten a bit off track here, everyone.

 

I defended Franklin's right to refuse a numbing shot in his shoulder.  Gary Pinkel himself said painkiller.  An antiflammatory shot -- which I've had for a torn meniscus -- doesn't kick in immediately in my experiences.  In fact, my doctor told me it would take 24-48 hours to feel a difference.  From others I've spoken with it does usually take a day or two for such a shot to work.  But regardless of what shot Mizzou offered to its QB, the point I made regarding Franklin is that he had every right to make whatever call he wanted to regarding his body.

 

However, knowing plenty of ex-athletes, I know that schools often hand over painkillers in pill form, too.  Some kids get hooked.  Others have been known to re-sell them (something I didn't mention in this piece).

 

In my view -- whether it's a shot to numb pain before a game or pills handed over to someone in his teens or early-20s -- the NCAA needs to find some way to better monitor and regulate what's given to athletes and when.

 

That was the point of the piece and I -- and many other ex-players and their parents -- feel it would be a wise move.

 

Thanks for reading,

John



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