While many spectators insist on athletes sticking to sports, a growing list of professional athletes are not simply sitting idle as their bodies become sacrificial vehicles for the sake of entertainment.
Pro sports may be known for excessive use of tired clichés, but thankfully, relief and recovery are starting to dominate the athletic lexicon. Rob Gronkowski is the newest, and arguably the most well-known athlete to promote the benefits of CBD. At a press conference in New York this week, the former NFL Super Bowl-winning tight-end announced his partnership with a new team, CBDMedic.
Gronkowski, who spent nine years racking up impressive stats while being on the receiving end of Tom Brady’s passes, also was known for accumulating quite a few injuries during his time in the NFL. He credits CBDMedic’s products with improving his life and physical health.
“I immediately made CBDMedic part of my recovery,” Gronkowski said at a press conference. “And now for the first time in more than a decade, I am pain-free. And that is a big deal.”
Gronkowski underwent nine surgeries during his time playing with the New England Patriots and felt he had no choice but to retire.
“The injuries took an absolute beating on my mind and my soul. I was hurt both mentally and physically, day in and day out,” Gronkowski said. “I decided to walk away from the game for one reason: I had to recover.”
Gronkowski is not ruling out a comeback to the NFL but indicated it would not be a part of his immediate future. However, his statements will certainly lead to speculation that he could be back as soon as the second half of the upcoming NFL season.
“I truly believe I can get to another level with my body, and I’m just in the first stage right now,” Gronkowski said. “When that time comes down in the future, if I have the desire to play football again, if I feel passionate about football again, if I’m feeling like I need to go back on the field, I will go back to football. But as of right now, that is not the case. It could be the case in six months, it could be the case in two years, it could be the case in three years, it could be the case in three months. But I truly don’t see it in the foreseeable future, in like a week or a month. No. I want to do a different chapter of my life right now.”
Despite a career full of highlights, the moment he should have enjoyed the most was bittersweet due to extreme pain.
“I was in tears in my bed after a Super Bowl victory. … It didn’t make much sense to me,” Gronkowski said. “I couldn’t sleep for more than 20 minutes a night, after a Super Bowl win. And I was like damn, this sucks. It didn’t feel right.”
The NFL does not permit the use of any cannabis-based products, even hemp-derived CBD, despite its reclassification after Congress passed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (farm bill). Analysts are wondering if such a high-profile admission of CBD use could jeopardize a potential return for Gronkowski. With momentum building to allow players to use cannabis and CBD products for recovery, especially as the NFL has a sordid history of its players becoming dependent on addictive opioid medications for pain, Gronkowski could be putting pressure on the league to rethink its CBD policy.
Gronkowski is only the latest player in their prime to retire early. Former Colts star quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement at the age of 29 over the weekend, citing issues with chronic pain.