March 2021

Playing through the pain

How should painkillers be used in the NRL?

Rugby league is built on the image of the gladiator. The player battered, bruised and bloodied hauling himself off the ground for one more tackle, one more run.

It’s John Sattler playing with a broken jaw. Cooper Cronk with a broken shoulder. Sam Burgess with a broken cheek.

It’s Johnathan Thurston landing a match-winning conversion in his final match with Queensland, virtually unable to use one of his arms.

There’s a famous quote from United States Marine Lieutenant General Chesty Puller:

“Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

You can bet that quote has been painted in gyms and repeated at training sessions around the world.

But is playing through the pain really something that should be celebrated among our athletes?

How should painkillers be used in the NRL . . .

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