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Bears LB Urlacher explains painkiller use, concussion issue

  • By Marc Sessler NFL.com
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Maybe it's toughness. Maybe it's recklessness. But Brian Urlacher doesn't know another way.

The Bears' All-Pro linebacker opened up Tuesday about his longtime use of the painkiller Toradol and said he would hide a concussion to stay on the field.

Toradol is a non-addictive, non-narcotic drug that tempers pain by lowering inflammation, but it can lead to kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune that he has accepted 40 to 50 past injections of the drug, but he shrugged off the potential side effects.

"First of all, we love football," said Urlacher, who didn't take any Toradol injections or pills this season. "We want to be on the field as much as we can be. If we can be out there, it may be stupid, it may be dumb, call me dumb and stupid then, because I want to be on the football field. ...

"(Toradol's) been around a long time. I saw guys take it my rookie year. I didn't know what it was. I didn't have any reason to get one."

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Urlacher said he only employs the drug, which he started using in his third season, to address specific injuries. But he has witnessed players "take them every game because they can't play without them."

Painkillers, of course, don't prevent concussions.

"If I have a concussion these days, I'm going to say something happened to my toe or knee just to get my bearings for a few plays," he told HBO's "Real Sports," according to the Tribune. "I'm not going to sit in there and say I got a concussion. (Then) I can't go in there the rest of the game."

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