Addiction affects everybody. Never is that more apparent than when we hear about the downfall of a talented, well-liked public figure – like your favorite MLB player, for instance. The sports world can be challenging in many ways, and the culture of drugs and alcohol often becomes a slippery slope for many promising players.
Players coming out of high school are suddenly armed with big money, a whole new set of enablers and unparalleled access to anything they desire – all at a very vulnerable time in their lives. When it comes to the veteran players, the story is the same as with many people who have gotten hung up in the opiate epidemic - it starts with an injury. There is a need and a desire to numb the pain and keep playing, so they turn to painkillers and find themselves in a tough spot very quickly.
Not only does this problem affect them during their sports careers, it follows them afterwards. There are complex emotions that come with leaving the spotlight when a career comes to an end. Players must adjust to less praise, less checks and balances from teammates, less support from coaches and medical staff, and less structure in their lives. Programs such as the Major League Baseball’s BAT program attempt to address these issues by assisting athletes in bridging the gap between these two lives, where they can better find their way.
There’s a lot more to this topic, and Donna Pellegrino, the host of Spectrum’s popular radio program – Airing Addiction – gets into it all on last week’s episode, with guests Rob Bradford of WEEI, Kevin Mikolazyk of The Herren Project and former MLB player Jeff Allison. Subscribe on iTunes or Soundcloud to check it out today, and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the show on Facebook.