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Former NFL players suffering from the injuries of their careers are supporting medical marijuana research based on their successful experiences in using cannabis.

The reality of playing in the NFL means accepting injuries as part of the job. “I don’t think any of us regret what we did, but there’s no question it comes at a real cost.” said Jake Plummer, formerly of the Denver Bronco who played 10 seasons and retired in 2007. “What happens is we love to take care of the players when they’re playing. But when we get done and after the five years of insurance runs out, these guys are strung out.”

Plummer announced that he’d be donating $10,000 to Realm of Caring, an organization that’s teaming up with Johns Hopkins University to research how cannabis can help NFL athletes.

Other NFL retirees have been giving praise to cannabis’ abilities to treat their conditions. Jim McMahon has been using cannabis to treat early-onset dementia, chronic pain and impairment to his vision and speech.

Even current players are speaking out about the benefits of marijuana for treating football injuries. Eugene Monroe has called on NFL officials to look more closely at the ability for cannabis to replace prescription painkillers, which is being widely used by players and widely abused by the general public, enough to label it an opioid “epidemic.”

“I’ve had friends, guys I played alongside, whose mood changed from night to day. I know others who’ve replaced hellacious amounts of painkillers with CBD … and I hope this gets even more guys involved,” Plummer said. “The bigger the number, the better chance we have to get in front of (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell and say, ‘You need to fund this.’ Not just for football players, but for the millions of others it could help.”

Goodell has held firm on keeping marijuana out of the NFL, despite strong criticism for how NFL health officials have been treating injuries with prescription painkillers. “I agree there has been changes, but not significant enough changes that our medical personnel have changed their view,” said Goodell. “Until they do, then I don’t expect that we will change our view.”

With both retired and current NFL players publicly supporting cannabis research, they could find success in numbers. “We need more guys like Eugene Monroe to take a stand on this and say, ‘If you really care about us, you should seriously look at this and consider the effects it can have.’ It’s really for everybody, not just football players,” said Plummer.

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