At a time when more and more people are conscious of the dangerous health effects of football, former NFL running back LenDale White may have thrown gasoline on the fire.
In an interview with Los Angeles Times’ Mark Helfand, White, who played four years in the NFL and has been out of the league since 2009, said he believes he had 20-30 concussions in his career and often abused Vicodin to deal with them.
White said he continued to use Vicodin after his career was over to deal with the emotions surrounding the end of his playing days.
“I don’t mean like popping a pain pill because I’m hurt,” White said. “I mean popping scripts. Like 10 Vicodins at a time type [stuff]. You know what I mean? To feel it, like I’m high. To feel the numbness.”
White wasn’t positive about the number of concussions he truly had because only one was diagnosed. However, he described the feeling to Helfand.
“You lose consciousness and then all of a sudden it’s like shoooo-ooooof. Like, that’s how it sounds, like shhhhhhloooof, and then all of a sudden you hear the play again.” He told Helfand he’d get up and wander aimlessly until regaining his senses.
White now owns a marijuana farm in Colorado that ships to dispensaries and said that he got over his addiction to painkillers with the help of cannabidiol, a less psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.
While White seems healthy and happy now, his story must nonetheless terrify the NFL. How many other players, behind the scenes, were playing through concussions and dealing with it through painkillers?