AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
A groundbreaking story was reported this weekend by ESPN on its Outside the Lines show regarding prescription drug addiction by retired NFL players. The statistics in the study read much like the endless stories of those in wrestling addicted to somas, prescription painkillers, alcohol, other drugs, or combinations of several as painkillers. The study was conducted by researchers at Washington University/St. Louis School of Medicine, is the first of such use by former NFL players.
In the study, the following statistics were recorded:
All this, even with the fact that the NFL is known as having one of the stronger drug testing programs in professional sports. When asked for comment, Dr. Lawrence S. Brown, the NFL’s medical adviser for substances of abuse, explained that ” it was scintifically flawed” to compare the drug use of athletes to the avereage person. In other words, the NFL has basically said “well of course they use drugs, they are football players”.
WWE has its Wellness Program, with drug rehabilitation offered to past WWE talent (which has been a great help to many); yet addiction issues are still prevalent. There has been of course, no such study of professional wrestlers, largely because WWE still refuses to recognize its employees as employees, and still engages in the “independent contractor” charade which allowed the company (until the Benoit family tragedy) to take a largely hands-off approach to drug use.
It’s only within the last few months that use of somas has been banned by WWE, even with a prescription. Mind you, if one form of pain medication has been banned…wrestlers may well go to another. As the NFL study above showed, alcohol isn’t just a recreational drug anymore, but a painkilling medication of choice for some.
In both forms of sports/entertainment, there is a culture where tolerance of pain is necessary to peform. While on one hand players/performers are being told to notify team/company management of injuries…they also know that their pay is dependent on performance. Anything that will get in the way of performing is “managed” through use of painkilling drugs or alcohol.
Until a change of some type is made in the WWE schedule (or the NFL schedule), to rotate performers/athletes in and out from TV, and provide an opportunity for bodies to naturally heal, these drugs will continue to be abused.
Until next time…
If you have comments/questions/event announcements/results, if you’d like to add the AS I SEE IT column to your website, or if you’d like to add advertising on PWBTS.com (the flagship website of this column), e-mail me at the address above. Advertising consists of banner ads, available for $400 for one year. These ads would appear on each newspage appearing on the newsboard. Cube ads are also available for $200 for one year, which would be placed on the main newsboard page.