Professional sport takes its toll on athletes in a variety of different ways. Very few, if any, elite-level participants escape their chosen sport without battle scars to show for it.
The fear for many of these retiring stars is that physical scars can quickly open up mental wounds as well. Research is increasingly showing that CBD creams and oils are a much more effective and healthier alternative in the realm of pain-management.
A report from the World Health Organization has stated that: ‘In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.’
CBD’s apparent lack of dependence and abuse potential could mark a huge leap forward in regards to the treatment of chronic pain.
A 2018 survey by the BBC revealed that over half of former professional sportspeople have concerns about their mental wellbeing since retiring. This is often linked to pain that lingers from their playing days and can in many cases lead to addiction to dangerous painkillers.
Someone who knows about this extremely well is Dan Hunt, former NRL player for the St George Illawarra Dragons in Australia. In a warm-up session preceding a game in 2010, Hunt ruptured his achilles tendon and was forced to have surgery and spend a lengthy period of time on the sidelines.
Prescribed painkillers for the physical pain, Hunt says he began to rely on them for more.
‘I began to take them for the emotional pain. I was taking way more than I was supposed to, mixing them with alcohol, and doing it to escape reality. Still not acknowledging or dealing with what was going on in my life,’ he says.
Research is beginning to show that CBD usage can provide a more natural alternative to pain-relief that then has flow on effects in regards to mental health and wellbeing. Professional athletes can easily become lost when they lose the structure of a sporting environment, suddenly thrust out from the support networks they have come to expect and lean upon when they need assistance.
Rob Gronkowski, a three-time Super Bowl champion and recently retired nine-year veteran of the NFL is one of the latest professional athletes to begin speaking positively about the physical and mental effects of CBD topical creams.
Regarded by many analysts of the game as the greatest tight-end to ever grace the field, Gronkwoski was forced into retirement by the extensive list of injuries he has incurred throughout his brutal career. An ever-lengthening list of surgeries aimed at treating constant pain took its toll on the mental health of Gronkowski, eventually leading him to walk away from the NFL at just 30 years of age.
In recent weeks, Gronkowski has publicly lauded the benefits of CBD, saying that it is the only thing that has ever taken away the pain caused by the repeated collisions he experienced on the football field.
‘I was blown away with how well it worked… I am pain-free and that is a big deal,’ the six foot six, 122kg giant said at a media conference.
Still able to pull large crowds thanks to his exploits at the elite-level of one of the most popular sports in America, Gronkowski’s words have served to strengthen the argument for the rules around CBD to be relaxed by sporting bodies around the world.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis is another retired sportsman adding his voice to the call for CBD to be recognized as a viable option when it comes to pain management and improved lives after sport. Davis says that the CBD extracts he has used since his playing days can help make other other athletes feel ‘normal again.’
Davis is quick to point out that his is not the only body to be bruised and beaten long after his on-field career has ended, and he is keen to help others feel the pain-relieving qualities he has experienced. Dealing with a myriad of issues off-field, including recurring migraines, Davis has seen a rewarding upswing in his life since beginning changing his medicinal direction.
‘I have more flexibility in my joints now. For a year and and a half now I’ve had one migraine… and I didn’t have a full-blown migraine, so it’s helped me in that respect.”
Another prominent athlete to support a move towards more sensible rulings around CBD is triathlete Judith Hagger. A prominent user of CBD oils, she has often spoken of the positive effects the products have on her ability to continue performing as she gets older.
Still performing on the world stage at the age of 45, Hagger says that the muscle relaxing properties of the CBD oils aid in recovery after intense sessions and lead to sharp improvements in her sleep patterns, enabling her to perform at her best. She is on record as saying that her experience with muscle inflammation has increased in conjunction with her age and that CBD oils can be used to curtail this.
Painkiller abuse and subsequent mental health issues were once taboo topics in the sporting world but as times change, so too do the options athletes have to deal with their physical and mental pain. CBD topical creams could be a game-changer when it comes to life after sport and as more and more high-profile stars experience the benefits first-hand, the industry will only continue to grow and aid in the next chapters of these athletes lives.