NFL Alumni help test opioid alternative

Former Cowboys defensive back Thomas Everett and other members of the Dallas chapter of the NFL Alumni Association take part in a special drug trial.

FRISCO, Texas — In recent years the NFL has made a concerted effort to legislate vicious hits out of its game, but pain has been the price so many NFL players pay to play the game. 

And for retired NFL players, pain management is a daily concern, “It’s part of your life…it’s part of your whole day,”

 A recent study says 52 percent of retired NFL players use prescription opioids with 71 percent of those saying they misused the drugs. 

“It’s a big known problem for former players,” said Liffort Hobley, the President of the Dallas chapter of the NFL Alumni Association.

Liffort Hobley played seven years in the NFL, mostly with the Dolphins. And while he’s avoided opioid issues, he understands the need for better pain management options.

Hobley and other former players taking part in a study with an Australian pharmaceutical company working to repurpose the bladder drug Pentosan polysulphate sodium to combat inflammation and osteoarthritis. 

Former Cowboys defensive back Thomas Everett, a two-time Super Bowl champion is also part of the six-week study, that included a pair of weekly injections.

“It just got better with each injection, some guys it was hitting them right away, some later on, it hit me a little later,” said Everett, “and it’s still having a great effect right now.”

Hobley says the drug has worked incredibly well for him, too. An avid golfer, he says knee inflammation has plagued him for years, but after taking the drug he’s able to play 18 holes pain-free, “I’m looking at it today as a positive and great success.”

The drug needs further FDA testing before it will be available commercially. But these aren’t paid testimonials, instead a little positivity to help with all those sudden impacts.

“I’m loving this, loving life right now,” said Hobley.

And if this proves to be an opioid alternative, scores of former NFL players could see their quality of life improve, too.

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