Do Not Sell My Personal Information
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Monday May 4, 2020

Painkillers debate re-opened as ex-Scotland flanker speaks out

Painkillers debate re-opened as ex-Scotland flanker speaks out

Over the weekend, former London Irish and Scotland back row Kieran Low spoke candidly to the Sunday Times Scotland about the end of his playing career, which has, in turn, re-opened the debate over the painkiller culture in rugby.

ADVERTISEMENT

In an interview with journalist Mark Palmer, Low detailed how a concession injury lay-off nearly had devastating consequences, as well as just how much the painkiller culture has become the norm for a professional rugby player.

“I was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs, unconscious and choking on my own vomit,” Low said.

“That day, like every day, I’d been drinking too much booze and taking too many painkillers. I’d taken a lot of Valium [diazepam] and then fallen down the stairs. I fractured my skull and needed surgery.

“It’s a shocking culture that doesn’t get spoken about enough. You come into it as a youngster, see what the older guys are doing, and it becomes the norm for you as well.”

Low said that he had become addicted to certain painkillers and since his retirement from the game at the age of 25, he started to resent the sport.

“Before a game, you get your painkillers, then during the week, if you need anything, there’s always a doctor, always someone who will have something to tide you over. I became pretty heavily addicted to opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines: codeine and Valium [diazepam].”

“I have a lot of resentment, because it’s a culture in rugby that doesn’t get addressed and still goes on. These are pretty heavy-duty drugs, but you think: ‘the doctor is giving it to me so it must be fine. I’ll carry on taking it.’”

How much of a problem does rugby have with painkillers?

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s a much talked about aspect of the game, but one which unfortunately gets quickly brushed under the carpet after a while. The truth of the matter is that, rugby is a contact sport which takes an enormous toll on the body.

Such is the professionalism of the game today, the demand for player availability and the need to field the best side possible has forced players to play while injured. As a result, they have developed a dependency for painkillers to make sure they are able to put the pain to one side in order to play.

Former French international prop Laurent Bénézech detailed his fears about the “over medicalisation of rugby” in his 2014 book Rugby: Where are your Values?. Short of calling out intentional doping in rugby, Bénézech started a nationwide Senate debate in his home country about player welfare and the subsequent addiction to painkillers.

ADVERTISEMENT

Related Articles

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    Exeter vs Toulouse is off as a number of...

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    Danny Cipriani leaves Gloucester with immediate...

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    'Aphiwe can’t believe it. We were starting...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 1 DAY AGO

    WATCH: The VERY BEST tries ever scored at Murrayfield in one awesome video

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Beauden Barrett scores 25 points in 20 minutes for Suntory in Japan Top League

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: The Victor Vito offload fans have been raving about in Champions Cup quarter-final

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    MUST WATCH: Awesome compilation of the best tries ever scored at the Millennium Stadium

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Awesome compilation showcases the GREATEST tries ever scored at Twickenham

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 DAY AGO

    WATCH: Aaron Smith's captain's referral turned down after swinging arm collision

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: 19-year-old is barely a speed bump for fearsome Fijian number eight

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: South African sevens icon Afrika done for clear cheating on Robshaw MLR debut

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Powerhouse Tongan Thor leaves opposition on his arse with HUGE handoff

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Amazing highlights reel demonstrates why Tadhg Furlong MUST go on the British & Irish Lions tour this Summer

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 1 DAY AGO

    The most iconic pieces of rugby commentary in brilliant 7-minute montage

  • 1 DAY AGO

    'It's part of our culture' says Haka performing South African university team

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Petrus du Plessis video of son's dominant scrum shows signs of potential future star

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Over $450 million loss for South Africa's economy if the Lions tour happens without fans

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: South African sevens icon Afrika done for clear cheating on Robshaw MLR debut

View All

Funnies

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Lions coaching staff announcement elicits some amused responses from fans

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Comedy gold as Toronto lock attempts clearance kick in MLR match featuring Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: 135kg prop lines up swan dive from 20 metres out... then re-thinks

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bizarre standoff in Super Rugby tests players on their rulebook knowledge

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Flanker has HOWLER in Super Rugby Aotearoa after butchering awesome solo try

View All

Amateur

  • 24 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 61 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 61 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 61 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 61 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bumping off tacklers and taking high balls, Rob Kearney had an impressive Super Rugby debut

  • 13 WEEKS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 14 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 21 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

  • 21 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath prop launches Amazon documentary focused on those from non-traditional backgrounds

View All
Painkillers debate re-opened as ex-Scotland flanker speaks out | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos