Kerr’s mar­i­juana ad­mis­sion may spark di­a­logue in sport Us­ing mar­i­juana ‘makes a lot of sense’

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

David West has un­der­gone four surg­eries in his long NBA ca­reer: Left knee, right el­bow and right foot twice to fix a cou­ple of toes. “I don’t even like say­ing all that,” he said. So, yes, just like his coach who tried medic­i­nal mar­i­juana to get some re­lief, West knows real pain. Dray­mond Green has never needed an op­er­a­tion - he knocks on a ta­ble not once but twice as to not jinx him­self - yet he con­sid­ers that the op­tion of us­ing mar­i­juana “makes a lot of sense.”

“I’m al­ways struck ev­ery time I’m home on the couch watch­ing a sport­ing event, some drug com­mer­cial comes on, they show these happy peo­ple jump­ing in a lake, row­ing a boat, then you just wait for the qual­i­fier,” War­riors coach Steve Kerr said a day af­ter re­veal­ing he tried mar­i­juana for se­vere back pain . “Side ef­fects in­clude sui­ci­dal thoughts and pos­si­ble death. And you’re like, this is in­sane. In­sane.” Kerr’s play­ers be­lieve his voice can go far in start­ing a se­ri­ous, thought­ful di­a­logue in pro­fes­sional sports re­gard­ing pot use for pain re­lief.

“You look at some­thing that comes from the Earth. Any veg­etable that comes from the Earth, they en­cour­age you to eat it,” Green said at shootaround Satur­day. “It does make a lit­tle sense as op­posed to giv­ing some­one a man­u­fac­tured pill. If some­thing takes your pain away like some of these pills do, it can’t be all good for you . ... He talked about Vi­codin. To­radal, you can be com­pletely hurt­ing and then take a To­radal shot and go through a game and feel noth­ing. Is that re­ally good for you over the course of time? I doubt it.”

Deal­ing with pain

The reign­ing NBA Coach of the Year ac­knowl­edged he tried mar­i­juana twice in the past 18 months while deal­ing with de­bil­i­tat­ing back pain that still af­fects him this sea­son. “First, I’m dis­ap­pointed it didn’t work. I re­ally wanted some re­lief and I didn’t get it. Hav­ing done the research it was well worth a try,” Kerr said Satur­day. “You can see it with our coun­try, our coun­try is start­ing to wisen up on the medic­i­nal mar­i­juana side. I hope we can wisen up on the pre­scrip­tion drug side. That’s scary stuff and it’s re­ally not talked about of­ten enough.”

Kerr told Com­cast Sport­sNet Bay Area’s War­riors In­sider Pod­cast with Monte Poole on Fri­day that he used medic­i­nal mar­i­juana but it didn’t help - and painkillers have of­ten been worse. On Satur­day, Kerr said he was sur­prised how a se­ri­ous con­ver­sa­tion about pain re­lief “turns into the head­line ‘Kerr smokes pot.’”

“I’m ac­tu­ally kind of glad it be­came an is­sue be­cause I think it’s a very im­por­tant is­sue to talk about, hav­ing gone through a tough spell over the last year with my own re­cov­ery back surgery, a lot of pain, chronic pain,” he said. “... The is­sue that’s re­ally im­por­tant is how do we do what’s best for the play­ers? But I un­der­stand that it’s a per­cep­tion is­sue around the coun­try and the NFL, NBA, it’s a busi­ness, so you don’t want your cus­tomers think­ing, ‘These guys are a bunch of pot heads.’That’s what it is. But to me it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore medic­i­nal mar­i­juana is al­lowed in sports leagues be­cause the ed­u­ca­tion will over­whelm the per­cep­tion.”

Green said he hasn’t needed painkillers nor has he tried mar­i­juana, never hav­ing a se­ri­ous in­jury or re­quir­ing surgery. Guard Klay Thompson would sup­port drugs for medic­i­nal use only - this af­ter he was ar­rested on charges of mis­de­meanor mar­i­juana pos­ses­sion in early March 2011, in Pull­man, Wash­ing­ton, dur­ing col­lege at Wash­ing­ton State. He was sus­pended for a game.

“Steve’s open-minded, and ob­vi­ously with the way the world’s go­ing, if there’s any­thing you can do that’s medic­i­nal, peo­ple are all for it, es­pe­cially when there’s stuff like Crohn’s dis­ease out there, glau­coma, a bunch of stuff, can­cer,” Thompson said. “But not recre­ation­ally, that should not be of its use ever. There’s a medic­i­nal side to it that peo­ple are find­ing out have benefits, es­pe­cially peo­ple with re­ally high pain.”

Cal­i­for­nia was the first state to em­brace legal, medic­i­nal mar­i­juana two decades ago. Twen­tyeight states and Wash­ing­ton, DCnow al­low mar­i­juana for med­i­cal or recre­ational pur­poses. The 51-year-old Kerr missed the first 43 games last sea­son and the team’s record 24-0 start while on a leave of ab­sence fol­low­ing com­pli­ca­tions from two back surg­eries. A spinal fluid leak led to ter­ri­ble headaches, nau­sea and neck pain among other symp­toms that left him feel­ing frus­trated and down.

Kerr noted, “ath­letes ev­ery­where are pre­scribed Vi­codin like it’s vi­ta­min C, like it’s no big deal.”“I think the league should look into medic­i­nal mar­i­juana for pain re­lief ... that’s what should be in the CBA,” Kerr said. Green and West be­lieve change can hap­pen, that over time peo­ple might be­come more open-minded when the per­son speak­ing up is some­one like Kerr, who was se­lected the West­ern Con­fer­ence Coach of the Month for Novem­ber. — AP

OAK­LAND: In this Oct 25, 2016, file photo, Golden State War­riors coach Steve Kerr re­acts dur­ing the team’s NBA bas­ket­ball game against the San An­to­nio Spurs. — AP

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