Substance and alcohol abuse do not discriminate and people from all walks of life have an equal chance of being affected. It seems that even the elite of the National Football League (NFL), some of the most talented athletes in the world, are vulnerable to the influence of addiction.
Recent news of the Bears defensive tackle, Nate Collins, charged with marijuana possession, has been fined and will be suspended for one game per the NFL’s substance and alcohol abuse policy.
The Kansas City Chiefs,’ Tamba Hali, regarded as the team’s best pass rusher, has been suspended for the first game of the regular season due to a violation of the NFL’s drug-testing policy. The pressure to achieve is enormous, and many players use drugs and alcohol to cope.
Reasons why NFL Players use Drugs and Alcohol
NFL players, as with all professional athletes, need to be confident, satisfy ego requirements, and are extremely sensitive to internal pressures. Most professional athletes are pushed to succeed, and any decrease in their performance can threaten their physical and mental well-being.
Athletes may respond to internal pressure with nervousness, anxiety, and depression. Some athletes may look to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to relieve the internal pressure, however while it may appear that in the short-term they gain an advantage, in the long term substance and alcohol abuse can severely damage an individual’s body and decrease performance.
A culture of drug use has evolved in professional sports where athletes are constantly trying to improve their performance. Enhancing performance with amphetamines or other stimulants may be seen as an appropriate risk in a sport where winning is so important that it defines a player in every facet of their value.
Peer pressure within the team, and desire to live up to role models can increase the risks of drug and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately these pressures can destroy an athlete’s future.
NFL Players with Substance and Alcohol Abuse
Many NFL players have openly discussed their struggles with substance and alcohol abuse and mental illness, like depression. The NFL has a substance abuse policy that all players and teams must follow. Recent violations include the unfolding Hali situation as well as issues with two New York Giants, Roger Diehl and Tyler Sash.
Roger Diehl, an offensive player for the New York Giants, was recently arrested for a DUI. He had struck several parked cars with his BMW, and consequently failed a breath test. Diehl may face fines of over 500,000 dollars, and suspension from the team for violating the NFL’s policy on substance and alcohol abuse.
Tyler Sash, a safety for the New York Giants, has been suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season. Sash was taking a prescription for Adderall, and sources suggest it was a legal prescription.
Unfortunately, the drug contains amphetamine, and according to the NFL’s policy on drug use, it is a performance-enhancing drug and has put Sash in violation. He had reported the drug was to help him with speaking performances and to reduce his anxiety.
It can be hard to compete in today’s competitive environment, even if you aren’t a professional athlete. Stress at work, school or on the field can cause individuals to look for solutions. Chemical solutions, like substance and alcohol abuse are dangerous to your long term health and can actually have the opposite of the intended effect.
It is better to learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the competition and stress. If you or someone you love is under immense pressure to perform and needs to find a solution, please call us today. Substance abuse treatment and behavioral therapy can help an individual overcome substance abuse and learn to manage stress and competition in a healthy way. Destination Hope is a full-service alcohol abuse, drug addiction and health treatment facility in Florida for men and women who suffer from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.