Lawsuit Against USC Over Painkiller Goes to Trial Next Summer

Lawsuit Against USC Over Painkiller Goes to Trial Next Summer

His name is Armond Armstead. A few years ago he looked like another potential first round draft choice out of USC. He was a defensive end and a very, very good college football player.

But something happened to him and he quietly disappeared from the field and ultimately the Trojan football team.

And what happened to him is headed to a courtroom.

Armond Armstead

Armond Armstead

Armstead is suing USC, team doctors and a sports pharmaceutical company, alleging that painkillers he received while playing football caused him to have a heart attack and damaged his potential as an NFL player.

Armstead’s attorney, Roger A. Dreyer of Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora LLP, has confirmed that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos has set a trial date of June 23, 2014.

Armstead alleges that SportsPharm Pharmaceuticals, USC, University Park Health Center and Dr. James Tibone are liable for giving him the painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug Toradol without disclosing the medication’s side effects or risks.

Like other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Toradol comes with a warning label that cautions users that it may raise the risk of a cardiovascular event or stroke.  But Armstead claims that USC players only knew the drug as “the shot” and that he felt “super human” after getting the injections.

Armstead alleges in his suit that Dr. Tibone started administering Toradol injections to him in 2010 on the day of a game between USC and the University of Virginia. Then a junior, Armstead had complained of pain in his left shoulder after practice the day before.

USC doctors allegedly continued to give him Toradol over the next three months, according to Armstead’s complaint, which says that the football player received additional injections even after he started complaining of chest pain in early 2011.

Armstead played last year in the Canadian Football League and is currently on the New England Patriots roster. He had one year of eligibility left when he departed USC. His younger brother Arik, who is an elite college player himself, is now at the University of Oregon where he is expected to star for the 2013 Ducks on defense.

Recruiting rumors had it that both Armsteads were set to go to Notre Dame as a package deal  two years ago, but Notre Dame took a look at Armond’s health records and decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

The use of painkillers among athletes, particularly pro football players, is well known. ESPN recently reported that retired pro football players are four times more likely to misuse opioid pain medicine than the population as a whole. According to The New York Times, Toradol is widely used by baseball players as well.

The Armstead case concentrates on college sports, where data about painkillers is not as readily available. This trial promises to make news when it gets underway next year. USC head football coach Lane Kiffin and Athletic Director Pat Haden are expected to testify.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan