Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Former Selke winner Ryan Kesler: Pain medication use led more health problems

Former Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks star Ryan Kesler is warning others against taking too much pain medication. 

Kesler said that a lack of education about a popular anti-inflammatory medication led to his chronic digestive problems, which he revealed in a Canadian sports documentary, according to Greg Wyshynski. Other former NHL players also spoke out about the overuse of medications like Toradol, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

The 36-year-old Kesler hasn't played an NHL game since March 2019 because of chronic hip problems. To manage the pain, he said he would frequently take Toradol, a drug that isn't approved for long-term use. 

In 2015, Kesler was diagnosed with colitis, a disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. Doctors told him the condition likely was caused by Toradol abuse. 

"I had holes in my colon and ulcers, and basically my whole intestines went into spasm. It's very unpleasant. You've gotta go to the bathroom 30-40 times a day. And when you do go to the bathroom, it's pure blood. It depletes you. It's terrible. And it's all because I wasn't made aware of what this drug could potentially do to me," he said.

To make matters worse, Kesler then was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in the fall of 2019, which is an inflammatory bowel disease. He's now calling for the NHL to educate players on the effects of taking too much medication.

Unfortunately for players, it doesn't seem like the league is going to take action following Kesler's comments. In a since-deleted tweet, the NHL praised players for blocking shots, taking hits and fighting through pain. 

We've even seen plenty of players in the past remain on the ice when they're in pain. During the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins fourth-liner Gregory Campbell blocked a shot but stayed on the ice to continue killing a penalty with a broken leg.

More players than Kesler probably have abused pain medications, so the NHL, quite frankly, needs to provide some education to its players moving forward. 

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. Although many think Boston sports fans are insufferable, Erin tries to see things from a neutral perspective. Her passion is hockey, and she believes defense wins championships. In addition to covering sports for Yardbarker, she covers Boston sports for NBC Sports Boston. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90

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