The pain-killer known as Toradol gained national publicity late last year when a former University of Southern California football player alleged he and other teammates were given the drug without knowing the side effects.
And last month retired All-Pro linebacker Jason Taylor said he regularly was given Toradol before games.
Now a Yahoo!Sports report published Thursday said trainers for baseball’s Boston Red Sox regularly gave their players Toradol for six seasons last decade, bucking state laws that prohibited its use.
Mike Reinold, an athletic trainer and physical therapist for the Red Sox who was fired after last season, used Toradol to treat players, mostly Boston’s pitchers, (former pitcher Curt) Schilling and three other sources said. Toradol is a legal substance and isn’t banned by Major League Baseball. The Massachusetts board of Allied Health Professionals, which regulates trainers in the state, has disciplined multiple trainers in recent years for injecting patients, regardless of the drug administered.
“It is the board’s position that athletic trainers are prohibited from using injectables,” said Amie Breton, director of communications for the Massachusetts’ Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations.
Witnesses and the findings of a 2012 MLB investigation into Reinold concur that the 35-year-old injected players at home and road stadiums from 2006-11. MLB sent a league-wide memo March 8, 2012, strictly prohibiting trainers from injecting Toradol. While MLB’s investigation focused on Reinold, sources said he was far from the only trainer administering Toradol.
Among those who were injected, pitcher Curt Schilling said he was injected with Toradol before almost every start. And while he was never injected by Reinold, Schilling said other players were.
More than 300 Toradol shots over his career taught Schilling their vitality. He said he experimented with different times of injection before settling on the optimal one: 5:25 p.m., exactly 100 minutes before a 7:05 start. Even though it’s neither considered nor classified as a performance-enhancing drug, its ability to help pitchers perform isn’t in doubt. Schilling remembers one particular game, a 2002 Sunday getaway day in Milwaukee with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I slept on a pillow wrong,” he said. “I woke up at 5:30 (a.m.). I couldn’t move my head. I went to the ballpark at 6:30 for a 1:30 (p.m.) game. Worked for four hours on it. I literally couldn’t move my head. I went to the bullpen and started throwing and I didn’t think there was any way I could pitch.
“Then the Toradol kicked in. I threw a one-hitter and struck out 17.”
Reinhold wouldn’t confirm to Yahoo! that he injected players, citing patient confidentiality. Though he did say team doctors approved every treatment he made.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor