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Painkiller Addiction: How Injured Professional Soccer Players Become Addicted

Soccer, or football as it’s known to much of the world, is true to its name as it puts enormous pressure on players’ feet and legs. Broken legs, sprained ankles, and falling or tripping can cause severe pain for injured soccer players.

Addiction in Soccer

The abuse of drugs in soccer is widespread, especially the use of narcotics that help athletes play through the pain of an injury or cut down their recovery times. In many cases, injured soccer players are provided with analgesics and anti-inflammatories from their coaches, managers, or teammates simply to ensure they can play, compete, and win for their team despite the pain they’re in.1

The long-term or excessive use of painkillers, especially opioids, can lead to addiction by developing tolerance and dependence. Opioid painkiller addiction commonly results in heroin use, which is stronger, cheaper, and more easily accessible.2

Other drugs possibly abused by professional soccer players include stimulants like cocaine, performance-enhancing drugs, and prescription medications.3

Professional Soccer Players Who Have Suffered From Addiction

Addiction runs rampant in major league soccer, with some of the most famous athletes caught using drugs and alcohol including4:

  • Adrian Mutu, Chelsea, who was fined almost $25 million for using cocaine and failing a drug test
  • Diego Maradona, Argentina, who got $70,000 in fines for missing games due to his cocaine abuse
  • George Best, Manchester United, who suffered from alcoholism and died in the hospital after a drug overdose
  • Jimmy Greaves, Arsenal, who at one point drank a bottle of vodka a day
  • Tony Adams, Arsenal, who managed to quit his alcohol addiction after struggling with it for over a decade
  • Mbulelo Mabizela, Leicester City, who was banned for six months for drug use

When To Seek Help for Addiction

It is essential to seek help for addiction to drugs or alcohol if your use of these substances interferes with your daily life or relationships or if you find it difficult to feel normal without them. If you are addicted to painkillers or alcohol, you may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like:

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
●     Body aches●     Headaches●     Insomnia

●     Anxiety

●     Fever

●     Diarrhea

●     Anxiety●     Hand tremors●     Nausea

●     Vomiting

●     Sweating

●     Insomnia

All these symptoms are a sign you need help immediately. Fortunately, the treatments available in drug rehab for athletes are individualized to each patient’s needs.

Treatment Options

Most rehabilitation programs begin with medical detox, during which your body gets rid of any trace of drugs and alcohol. Going through withdrawal symptoms under medical supervision can significantly decrease your discomfort as well as the probability of a relapse.

Following your detox, an inpatient residential program consisting of individual and group therapy, counseling, and educational activities can set you on the best road to recovery.

If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, get the help you need today by contacting our team at (949) 427-9099.


  1. https://inews.co.uk/sport/football/football-indepth/playing-pain-injuries-depression-chronic-premier-league-football-painkiller-addiction-214278
  2. https://dailyutahchronicle.com/2017/04/03/opiates-sports-injuries-become-drug-addiction/
  3. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/815617-50-most-troubled-players-in-world-soccer-history-part-one

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If you or a loved one are in need of help with addiction, contact us today. Our professional and friendly addiction specialists are able to answer your questions and get things moving in the right direction.