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Controversial pain killer used in college football is being used in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - ABC 4 is learning about the dangers of a powerful pain killer used in college football, even right here in Utah. It’s a drug that could kill the player who uses it right on the field.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - ABC 4 is learning about the dangers of a powerful pain killer used in college football, even right here in Utah. It’s a drug that could kill the player who uses it right on the field.

We’re not talking about a couple of ibuprofen pills you take for bumps and bruises. It’s an injected hospital strength pain killer called Toradol. It’s been cleared for players to use at the University of Utah.

When the Utah football team played USC earlier this year in Rice Eccles Stadium it was the first time the Trojans had been to Salt Lake City in more than 94 years. Now a former USC #94 Defensive Lineman Armond Armstead is telling ABC News about how Trojan team doctors abused powerful pain killers to get injured football players like Armstead back on the field.

“Just go in. He would give me the shot, and I would be on my way,” said Armond Armstead, former USC football player.

Medical records show Armstead received injections on game days of a generic version of a hospital strength pain killer called Toradol, used in treating post-operative pain. The label warns of increased risk of myocardial infarction, a heart attack, and stroke which can be fatal.

“You had a heart attack?” asked Brian Ross, ABC News Reporter.

“I had a heart attack,” said Armstead.

Armstead is now suing USC for not telling him the risks. Friday ABC 4 called the athletic departments at BYU, Utah St. and Utah to see if they let their athletes use Toradol. An athletic trainer at the U didn’t want to get into any specifics, but he told ABC 4’s Brian Carlson if doctors okay athletes to use it, the university allows it.

When ABC News contacted some of college’s top football programs, 16 refused to say if they used Toradol, six said they don’t, and four said they do. If you ask Armstead’s mother she’s hoping less athletes make the same mistake her son did.

“How many other kids are going to take these shots to get on that field not know this could kill you,” said Christa Armstead, mother of Armond Armstead.

While the University of Utah allows Toradol, Universities like Nebraska and Oklahoma have stopped using the drug because of concerns for players’ health.

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Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson
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