Taking up to 800 prescription opioid pain medications per month at his worst, the former NFL quarterback went broke, put his family through "hell on Earth" and would pop a handful of pills before bed hoping he wouldn't wake up.
But he said at no point was he going to ask for help. Ray Lucas was caught in the downward spiral that is a dependence on highly addictive opioid medications.
And he's not alone - recent government estimates find that one in every 20 people over the age of 12 said they took a prescription opioid for a non-medical reason in the past year. Increases in opioid prescriptions over the past decade have correlated with a rise in overdose deaths, pharmacy robberies and addiction rates.
(CBS News) With the 2012 PGA Championship golf tournament in full swing, many fans may be eager to hit the links themselves.
But according to Dr. James Gladstone, associate professor of orthopaedics and sports medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, some of them may face injury risks when playing golf.
Gladstone told HealthPop that avid golfers especially may risk injury because of how they swing the club.
"Anytime you have repetitive overuse, when you're swinging the same way more or less," you can risk getting hurt, said Gladstone.Continue »
(CBS News) Athletes at the London Olympics have a hard enough time competing against the world's best in their respective sports. A new study suggests some athletes who traveled five time zones or more to reach the games may also risk getting sick.
The researchers behind the study, published in the August 8 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, wanted to see the effects travel had on elite athletes. They looked at a study pool of 259 rugby players at the top of their games who were competing at the 2010 Super 14 Rugby Tournament. The tournament took place over 16 weeks from February to May of that year, and consisted of 14 teams from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
Throughout the tournament, games were hosted in each of these countries, leading athletes to travel from two to 12 hours away from their home turfs. Eight team doctors were asked to record a daily log of the athletes who needed medical attention because of an illness.Continue »
Preliminary research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's annual meeting in Baltimore finds a significant increase in the number of concussions reported at three college football programs between seasons.Continue »
(AP) The most dangerous time for amateur athletes may not be during the heat of the game or even in rigorous practices. A total of 21 college football players have collapsed and died during conditioning workouts since 2000 - many on the first few days, when even the fittest players are often pushed too hard.
There's little regulation of these sessions, and coaches "just run willy-nilly" trying to make men out of boys, said athletic trainer Douglas Casa. "A lot of them are not focused on health and safety issues."Continue »
(AP) LOS ANGELES - Swept by the barefoot running craze, ultramarathoner Ryan Carter ditched his sneakers for footwear that mimics the experience of striding unshod.
The first time he tried it two years ago, he ran a third of a mile on grass. Within three weeks of switching over, he was clocking six miles on the road.Continue »
(CBS News) A new study paints a clearer picture of the toll boxing and repeated head blows take on athletes' brains. The study aimed to look for the "breaking point" when repeated trauma starts to cause memory and cognitive problems, or eventually may lead to more serious brain conditions.
It's no secrets boxers take a beating above the neck. After all, the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), that's gained recent headlines as it's found in autopsies of deceased professional football and hockey players, was once called "punch drunk-syndrome." But at what point do boxers and other athletes risk brain damage?Continue »
(CBS/AP) If you're considering a vasectomy, and happen to like pizza and basketball, a Massachusetts urology clinic has an offer for you.
Urology Associates of Cape Cod says it's offering a free pizza to vasectomy patients during March Madness. An administrator with the group says it's a lighthearted way to raise awareness about the procedure and drum up business.Continue »
Just what exactly is Valley fever? It's a fungal infection that's caused by breathing in spores found in dirt and soil. The infection starts in the lungs and causes cold- or flu-like symptoms. The infection, also known as coccidioidomycosis, is most common among people living in desert regions of the southwestern U.S., and in Central and South America.
Valley fever may not even cause any symptoms for some sufferers, but others may experience ankle and feet swelling, chest pain, cough, fever, and muscle aches within 21 days of being exposed to the fungal spores. The infection rarely spreads from the lungs, but if it goes through the bloodstream, it could cause more serious symptoms like neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, severe lung problems, painful joint swelling, and mental health changes.
"Ike is not contagious, is not taking any medication for his condition and does not currently exhibit any of the outward symptoms associated with valley fever," the Mets said. "However, Ike has been instructed to avoid extreme fatigue. No additional tests or examinations are pending."
The Valley Fever Center at the University of Arizona says two-thirds of all U.S. infections occur in Arizona, mostly in urban areas around Phoenix and Tucson. Davis' offseason home is in Arizona.
How is Valley fever treated? According to the Mayo Clinic, the best therapy for otherwise healthy adults is bed rest and fluids. If symptoms don't improve, antifungal medications may be prescribed. Mayo says people who live in areas prone to Valley fever should consider wearing a mask during the summer months, stay inside during dust storms, and keep their doors and windows closed.
"I feel great, and I don't have any symptoms of it," Davis said. "I'm not coughing or throwing up blood. It's not even hard to breathe. The doctor said I can play, but I can't get fatigued. Forty percent of people who live in Arizona get it during their life. I could've had this for a year and not known it," Davis said.
WebMD has more on Valley fever.
(CBS/AP) From car wrecks to combat injuries to concussions from playing football, traumatic brain injuries can cause serious damage and leave irreparable harm. That makes it all the more frustrating that these brain injuries are so difficult for doctors to diagnose.
Now scientists are testing a new MRI-based tool that lights up the breaks these injuries leave deep in the brain's wiring, much like X-rays show broken bones.Continue »
(CBS/AP) A sickle cell trait will keep Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark out of Sunday's AFC Wild Card game in Denver. The trait makes it dangerous for the 32-year-old to play in the high altitudes at Denver's Mile High Stadium.
Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday having Clark suit up is not worth the risk. Clark lost his spleen, gall bladder and 30 pounds after the condition was triggered when playing in Denver in 2007. Clark was also held out of Pittsburgh's last trip to Denver in 2009.Continue »
An autopsy of the 28-year-old who died from a drug overdose in May showed "telltale" brown spots near the outer surface of his brain, which indicate an advanced degree of brain damage, the New York Times reported.
"That surprised me," Dr. Ann McKee, director of the brain bank at Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, told the New York Times. "To see this amount? That's a wow moment."Continue »
(CBS) New research casts a harsh spotlight on high school athletics programs. It suggests that high school hockey and football players can suffer brain injury even from routine blows to the head sustained during games - in other words, even in the absence of concussions.Continue »
(CBS) Tommy John Surgery will shelve Red Sox pitcher John Lackey for the entire 2012 season, the team announced Tuesday.
The right-hander, who was awarded a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Sox in 2010, opted for the procedure following a down year in which he registered some of the worst numbers of his career, leading baseball by giving up 114 earned runs, CBS Sports reported.
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