NCAA doesn’t monitor painkiller use

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Gene Sapakoff of the Charleston, S.C. Post and Courier reports that while the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference went to the mat this summer over bagel quality in relation to an “ACC rules proposal seeking to specify ‘that an institution may provide fruit, nuts and bagels to student-athletes at any time,'” collegiate sports’ governing body doesn’t have any system in place to track or regulate the injections and painkillers given on a regular basis to many student-athletes.


Photo by Monica’s Dad via Flickr

…the NCAA wouldn’t know if a South Carolina or Clemson player received one Toradol shot or 30 last week, or if a given school under its wide jurisdiction was refilling infamously addictive OxyContin and Vicodin prescriptions by the shovelful.

“The NCAA does not monitor that from a national standpoint,” said Mary Wilfert, the NCAA’s Associate Director of Health and Safety. “That is left to the institutions and also left to those professional and legal and ethical regulatory bodies that folks in those fields operate under.”

The NCAA sources Sapakoff consulted said that monitoring painkillers and other drugs given to student-athletes, while a good idea, would be a “gargantuan task” beyond the association’s resources.

“Just way too much to try and get a handle on. Simple as that, unfortunately,” said an NCAA official, requesting anonymity. “We just don’t have the staff as it is.”

Sapakoff’s series on painkillers in football also looked at high schools and the NFL.

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