Recommendations by NFL Team Physicians Suggest More Careful Use of Common Pain Reliever in Players

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Doctors state Toradol (Ketorolac) should not be used as a means of preventing pain, as published in Sports Health: A Multi-disciplinary Approach

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Our recommendations on Ketoralac use in NFL players hopefully will help minimize the risk of complications and allow for all parties involved in the health of athletes to better understand, how, when and why to use ketorolac more effectively and safely.

Athletes have long been taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID), to help prevent or minimize pain during, before and after competition. However, recommendations by a task force developed through the NFL Team Physicians Society and published in the September/October issue of Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, are asking medical professionals to take a closer look at the specific use of one NSAID, Ketorolac tromethamine (Toradol), in professional football players.

“Ketorolac has been used most frequently as an analgesic pain reliever following strains, sprains and overuse injuries. Our recommendations on its use in NFL players hopefully will help minimize the risk of complications and allow for all parties involved in the health of athletes to better understand, how, when and why to use ketorolac more effectively and safely,” said Matthew Matava, MD, lead author on the recommendations and NFL Team Physicians Society, President-Elect.

Highlights of the recommendations include:

  •     Ketorolac should be administered only under the direct supervision and order of a team physician
  •     Ketorolac should not be used prophylactically as a means of reducing anticipated pain either during or after participation
  •     Ketorolac use should be limited to those players diagnosed with an injury or condition and listed on the teams’ latest injury report
  •     Ketorolac should be given in the lowest effective therapeutic dose and should not be used for more than 5 days.
  •     Ketorolac should be given in its oral preparation under typical circumstances
  •     Intramuscular and intravenous injection should not be used except following an acute, game-related injury where significant visceral or central nervous system bleeding is not expected
  •     Ketorolac should not be taken concurrently with other NSAIDs

The goal of the task force was to provide recommendations for the use of ketorolac in the NFL while taking into consideration the perceived, yet unproven, psychological benefits associated with its use. To read the complete recommendations, visit http://www.sportshealthjournal.org.

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Published bimonthly, Sports Health is a collaborative publication from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), and the Sports Physical Therapy Section (SPTS). Other organizations participating in the publication include the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (AOASM). For more information on the publication or to submit a manuscript, visit http://www.sportshealthjournal.org.

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