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.
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.