Football Players and Substance Abuse

It’s the beginning of another season of football, and another pro sports player is in trouble with substance abuse. In the history of sports, there have been countless athletes abusing drugs and alcohol, but it seems that the problem may be getting worse as time goes on.

The NFL season is starting up again. Fall is in the air, kids are heading back to school, and athletes are being suspended for substance abuse. Last week, it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ safety Tanard Jackson that was caught for some sort of substance abuse and suspended for four games. Jackson will leave quite a void in his team as he serves out his suspension, but his team is not the only one that is struggling to fill positions because of substance abuse. Charles Rogers has had problems with marijuana and was recently suspended form the Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titan Chris Davis was recently charged with a DUI, and those are just the ones that have made recent headlines this season. Some of the athletes are able to get help and get back into the game, such as Miami Dolphin running back Ricky Williams, who reportedly still remains clean. We could name many other pros that have had their careers put on hold while they dealt with substance abuse. Even a great like Michael Irvin was a user and Brett Favre battled with prescription painkillers for a time.

The Hazards of being a Pro Football Player

One of the downfalls of these pro football players is their wealth. Money can buy almost anything, including a lot of drugs. The temptations are all around these players, they have easy access to the substances, and with stressful careers and the pressure to succeed, sometimes it becomes pretty easy for them to fall into substance abuse. They have so much free time during the off season to do things like drugs that they get hooked then and can’t stop once they start playing again. And given the apparent climate in pro sports for substance abuse, peer pressure can affect even these guys. Everyone is doing it.

Many of these players, like all of us, fall into denial. They may not be willing to give up their career to get treatment, and there are probably plenty of teammates and agents that are willing to look the other way also, in order to keep their success going.

Unfortunately, these players are not only jeopardizing their own careers or lives, but pro sports athletes also have quite a bit of influence on today’s youth. When these kids see their heroes get involved with something like drugs or alcohol abuse, it makes it a little more difficult for them to say no.

Unsure where to start? Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.