Tyrann Mathieu, a former star cornerback for LSU and a top NFL prospect, may have wrecked a lucrative pro football career by getting caught in possession of a potentially life-saving medication: marijuana.
The arrest occurred today in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Mathieu’s apartment. Mathieu, nicknamed “Honey Badger” by his teammates, had already been dropped from the college team for failing drug tests. Now his troubles have intensified, as his criminal record may jeopardize his chances at the NFL draft, for which he’ll be eligible next year. The NFL has a strict policy against any cannabis use by its players.
The irony is that the drug which got Mathieu in trouble may have saved him from severe brain damage and an early death. Raphael Mechoulam (the discoverer of delta-9 THC) has shown that cannabinoids have a protective effect for brain cells, preventing the types of brain damage which can result after the kinds of blows to the head which are all too common on the football field and have been shown to increase the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer’s disease. Mechoulam’s research has shown that administration of cannabinoids within four hours of a traumatic brain injury can limit the damage considerably.
Soon, every player in the NFL may be required to vaporize cannabis after every game, to protect their brain health. Until that happens, we’ll continue to see sad headlines like this.