Sports physician warns of the consequences of painkiller abuse in sports

Sports physician Wilhelm Bloch calls for more sensitivity when dealing with painkillers in top-class sports. “Many athletes don’t think about the benefits and risks. We have to raise awareness that long-term medication is dangerous,” said the university lecturer from the German Sport University in Cologne.

The health consequences in particular could be devastating. “Long-term pain medication can lead to permanent changes in the body. Kidney, liver or vascular damage,” said Bloch. Painkillers could also affect the healing process in the event of injuries. “The tissue’s ability to regenerate is sometimes limited,” explained the expert.

He estimates that, depending on the sport and category, more than 50 percent of the participants now regularly take painkillers.

prominent examples

Most recently, tennis pro Rafael Nadal caused a stir at the French Open and Liverpool footballer Thiago in the Champions League final. Both athletes had pain-relieving injections in their feet.

Unlike many other professionals, Nadal and Thiago were really about pain relief and not just prevention, Bloch suspected. “Nevertheless, these examples give society a false image.”

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