It's no secret that the NFL has been giving their players medication and injections to deal with the pain related to football injuries for years. I personally have sat down with one former NFL player who lives here in Hawaii who talked to me extensively about the medications he was put on while in the NFL; how those drugs impacted and continue to impact his body; and what his lifestyle is like now since his liver is a mess and won't allow him to take medication that could actually help him. The summary? As you might expect, it's not pretty and unfortunately for Cleveland Browns' QB legend Bernie Kosar, his current health may very well be another example of dangers of these practices.
From his article published yesterday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Bill Livingston shared information from a new book published by the Miami New Times' Tim Elfrink and Newsday's Gus Garcia-Roberts called Blood Sport. In this book the authors allege that - along with Alex Rodriguez and many MLB players - a steady stream of former Miami Hurricane football players, including quarterback Bernie Kosar, were led to visit Biogensis for HGH, testosterone and steroid treatment. Bernie was apparently led to Biogenesis by fellow teammate and 1983 defensive end, Julio Cortes. I highly suggest you read both articles linked above to gain a better understanding of these allegations and the situation.
Below are a few noteworthy quotes from Livingston's article:
Suffering from a bad back and knees that resulted from a short, violent football career at The U and with the NFL Seattle Seahawks and teams in the Canadian Football League, Cortes visited Biogenesis because he had gone to the same Miami high school, Christopher Columbus, as its founder, Tony Bosch.
Known as "Dr. Tony," Bosch had only a two-year degree from a medical school in Belize in Central America and was unlicensed to practice medicine in the United States. He had gotten good results with a complicated regimen of steroids, amino acids, testosterone, and human growth hormone, prescribed in Florida by licensed doctors willing to be paid for doing so to patients they never examined.
Bosch's records indicate that Kosar was a patient and that at least one shipment of drugs was made, for which Kosar paid $600.
The authors paraphrase Cortes' view this way: "Compared to the highly addictive painkillers that NFL teams shovel at players, Cortes says Bosch's treatments were a healthier alternative."
In a direct quote, Cortes said, "We can either do this or get back on the oxy. You read the papers about Kosar, and he's a mess. He's slurring his words from the medication, from the oxy that the Browns gave him."
From his drunk driving arrests, to his bankruptcy, to the speculation about what was causing his slurred speech, Bernie has endured an array of issues within the court of public opinion. Last season he was asked to step down from his position with the Browns as a preseason game analyst following comments he made on TV about St Louis Rams players that were deemed unprofessional. Just this month, Kosar's struggles appeared to continue - per his Twitter account - when he mentioned that Dr. John and David "did a great job" with a picture of Bernie in the hospital. Dr. David Perse is a gastrointestinal doctor at St. Vincent St. Mary Hospital.
So I leave you with the questions I still am asking:
- How accurate are these reports in the book? And if accurate, how often did Bernie take this treatment from Biogenesis?
- Obviously alcohol and pain meds haven't helped him, but those or are these Biogenesis treatments to blame for his current health issues?
- While it's silly to link anything to the current Browns regime and ownership, is Cortes right to connect the past regimes administration of painkillers to Bernie's current health conditions?
- Another issue entirely is what is the NFLPA and the NFL are doing about current drug policies and practices among NFL teams, specifically around HGH and pain killers / injections. Teams are definitely still administering and pushing injections and hard core pain killers on their players. This raises the debate about alternative pain solutions that offer the relief players need to get back on the field without the long term side effects. Essentially, when will the NFLPA step up to address this and protect long term player safety?