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Kevin Duffan
Kevin Duffan
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So, what happens when a college football player has a heart attack?

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If you stub your toe on your way to the kitchen on game day, you're coaching from the couch and begging others to bring you beverages and chips the rest of the afternoon. So, you may wonder, how do football players bounce right up from the field and play through ankle, knee, and shoulder injuries? The answer is Toradol.

Toradol is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that doctors administer to patients following surgery, according to drugs.com. The NFL, NHL, NBA, and NCAA also give generic Toradol (ketorolac tromethamine) injections to players.

Former USC lineman Armond Armstead told ABC News the painkiller he was given before big games and at half-time gave him such superhuman strength that he couldn't have played some games without it.

"You can't feel any pain, you just feel amazing," he said.

Not surprisingly, superhuman strength comes at a price.

Per drugs.com, Toradol can cause serious adverse side effects such as heart attack or stroke.

"This risk will increase the longer you use Toradol," the site stated.

Armstead suffered a heart attack at age 20 and blames the Toradol injections he received throughout the 2010 season. He's now suing USC and its sports doctor, Dr. James Tibone, for failing to warn him about the drug's potential side effects. He claims he and other players only knew the drug as "the shot."

Tibone told ABC News that he still injects USC players with Toradol but could not comment on whether he told Armstead about the drug's potential side effects.

If team doctors aren't telling players what they're injecting them with, it's logical to wonder if they're advising those players to avoid mixing the drug with other medications. In addition to its cardiovascular risks, Toradol may also cause gastrointestingal bleeding and should not be taken with:

  • over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen;
  • antidepressants such as Celexa, Lexapro, or Zoloft;
  • blood thinners such as Coumadin; or
  • steroids such as prednisone.

"Even if you're the team physician, you still have to follow the standard of care and informed consent," a medical ethics expert told ABC News. "You better be disclosing all risks."

The NFL, NHL, and NBA require teams to report the use of Toradol injections; the NCAA, however, does not.

"NCAA members have decided that it is their individual responsibility to assure compliance with appropriate medication and treatment guidelines," it said in a written statement.

If you're now wondering whether Notre Dame and Alabama will use the drug this weekend, neither team would comment.About the editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, whose attorneys work out of offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, Eastern Shore Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service.