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The High Cost of High Impact
America’s sport pastimes are under scrutiny as the high cost of high impact continues to rear its head. New research released in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2017 showed that football players who regularly take hard hits to the head are at high risk for traumatic brain injury. In fact, of the 111 brains used for the study, 110 were found to exhibit chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). But concussion protocols and NFL head injuries aren’t the only issues raising eyebrows. Athletes competing at the highest levels—from the NCAA to the MLB to the Olympics—feel enormous pressure to perform and recover quickly, often leading them to take prescription and illegal drugs. Countless athletes have fallen victim to substance abuse addictions, suspensions, and bans from their sports for issues related to drug and alcohol abuse. In 2016, former NFL player Eugene Monroe (who quit football because of his laundry list of career-related injuries) came out publicly in support of cannabis as a natural alternative to counteract the drug-addled culture of professional sports. In July 2017, the NFL agreed to work with the NFL Players Association to study marijuana’s use as a pain management tool for players, marking the first step in a potential shift away from dangerous and addictive narcotics.
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