7 Athletes Who Struggled With Substance Abuse and Alcoholism

In 2012, the organization launched Project Purple, an anti-substance abuse campaign. He continues to tour the U.S. sharing his struggles with substance abuse at speaking engagements. Derek Boogaard was a professional ice hockey player who played six seasons in the NHL. He was considered one of the most intimidating players in the league given his tendency to engage in physical altercations during games. Traumatic events early in life could lead to drug addiction.

For better or for worse, Johnny Manziel is one of the most talked about figures in sports. Manziel starred at Texas A&M and became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. His athletic ability and competitive nature led to his first-round selection by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL draft. In 2008, Herren was using heroin when he crashed his vehicle into a pole. He recalls the day as the best of his life because it began his journey toward recovery. In 1986, he died of cardiac arrest caused by cocaine overdose.

Once this works in their favor, they will do it one more time to experience the glory. At this point, they have developed an addiction, and going back does not seem like an option. Young athletes, in particular, are at risk when they observe seniors and coaches having a laid-back, in fact, encouraging, attitude towards eco sober house review such drugs. The stigma around it vanishes and young athletes start consuming and abusing drugs. Success in sports is a symbol of prestige and honor amongst high school students. To do well and to kickstart their professional careers or make a name on their high school team, young athletes are prone to resort to drugs.

Why Do Athletes Struggle With Substance Abuse?

During and after his baseball career, Mickey Mantle suffered from alcohol addiction. Unlike his wife and children, who, into adulthood, confronted their own alcohol-related diseases by completing alcohol treatment, Mickey waited until his later life to do so. Only on January 7, 1994, did he admit himself into a treatment center. With forty years of drinking under his belt, the doctor told him he had alcohol-induced cirrhosis, hepatitis C, and inoperable liver cancer. The cancer spread to the rest of his body even after an impromptu liver transplant. The reason why this is important is that only when we understand why addiction and abuse are so common in sports, van the issue be effectively dealt with.

  • It can even affect great athletes, who on the outside may appear to have everything together and be at the peak of their health.
  • Drug use has claimed the lives of numerous prominent professional athletes.
  • As mentioned earlier, in July 2021, an American female sprinter was suspended from the Tokyo Olympics because she tested positive for marijuana.
  • Painkiller abuse in athletes and addiction to opioids is one of the most common causes of drug abuse in sports.
  • Some use it to relax and deal with the pressure and/or pain of their athletic career.
  • Lamar Odom is an American former professional basketball player.

Some of his most notable accolades include five tournament wins and two major wins. While continuing to play golf professionally to this day, Daly has a turbulent history of alcohol abuse and gambling addiction. Early in his career, Daly believed that he would win matches if he drank, although never drinking on the course. Instead, he regularly showed up still drunk from the night before or hungover.

Painkillers and Opioid Addiction

Researchers have linked traumatic brain injuries with drug abuse. Professional sports leagues have taken substance abuse seriously in recent years. The highest leagues of the four most popular spectator sports in America — basketball, football, baseball and ice hockey — conduct drug screenings. Today, the former UNLV star makes headlines for his substance abuse rather than his talents. In 2013, he pleaded no contest to a DUI charge and entered alcohol abuse treatment.

Lawrence Taylor, a retired NFL linebacker, found fame, fortune, success, and addiction early on in his career. Characterized as a wrecking ball, Taylor earned the NFL Defensive Rookie and Defensive Player of the Year awards after his first year of play. He won two Super Bowls and was selected ten times for the Pro Bowl and eight times for All-Pro teams. Evidence arose three months after the Beijing Olympics of Michael Phelps at a party smoking out of a bong. Although he never tested positive before or during the 2008 Olympics, he lost his sponsorship with Kelloggs and was suspended by the U.S. Michael Phelps reflected on the picture with regret, labeling it as bad judgment.

athletes addiction

This is a common occurrence in sports and therefore it is not surprising that athletes will do whatever they can not to feel the pain. Opioids are a common prescription drug but mostly are used even without a prescription. Addiction to opioids is thus very common with leads to abuse of drugs such as Heroin. Athletes have been in the news every now and then because of substance abuse. Only recently, American sprinter, Sha’Carri Richardson tested positive for marijuana during the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and was suspended for a month.

Dealing with loss or emotions

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Athletes will usually stay hushed about addiction issues as they do not want to ruin their reputation. Usually, because of this, the issues are not identified at an earlier stage and this leads to drastic results when eventually the person is found to have a drug problem. This unfortunate fate can be avoided to a great extent if family and friends of athletes keep a keen eye out for any symptoms indicating a drug problem. As noted, opioid is very common as it works as a pain reliever, and is not only readily available but prescribed too. Opioids are highly addictive, and side effects include constipation, nausea, and serious respiratory issues. Those who get addicted to painkillers are also likely to start using heroin.

athletes addiction

With the right prevention strategies, athletes can avoid substance abuse and maintain healthy, successful careers. If you or a loved one is an athlete suffering from drug addiction, https://rehabliving.net/ now is the time to seek help. To learn more about our services and receive care,contact us today. Athletes face unique challenges when it comes to substance use and addiction.

Why Athletes Use Drugs

Howe entered and reentered rehab treatment centers throughout his life; however, his help from each visit never quite stuck. Unfortunately, as with so many facing alcohol and drug addiction, Steve Howe died in 2006 while under the influence of methamphetamine as part of a single-vehicle accident. Being an athlete means constant injuries and aches, to deal with which, drugs are prescribed. Painkiller abuse in athletes and addiction to opioids is one of the most common causes of drug abuse in sports. Athletes do not want to let any weakness get in the way of victory.

Anabolic Steroids

Taylor’s bout with addiction manifested when he first tried cocaine in 1981. By his third season playing, he developed an abusive habit toward it. Taylor was caught in 1987 for the first time following a drug test. Previously he used teammates’ samples to pass off as his own. Taylor soon after sought treatment from a rehab facility.

Athletes and Drug Addiction

Athletes of every age can feel internal and external pressure to succeed. Athletic competition requires physical and mental toughness beyond what the average person is capable of. Between the scrutiny of coaches, families, friends and the consumer market, an athlete faces tremendous pressure. Treatment played an important role for many athletes who overcame addiction.

He played 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association , winning two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. As a member of the Lakers, he also won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2011. In 2014, Michael Phelps was arrested for DUI after a night of partying. Phelps has also admitted to using marijuana and other drugs in the past. Phelps has said that he is now sober and has not used drugs in over a year.


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