Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use in collegiate football players

Clin J Sport Med. 2013 Jul;23(4):283-6. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e318286d0fa.


Objective: To determine prevalence of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use in college football players and whether positions sustaining the most contact would use NSAIDs more frequently.

Design: Prospective cross-sectional study.

Setting: American college football programs.

Patients: An anonymous survey was given to 211 college football players before the season.

Independent variable: Use of NSAIDs.

Main outcome measures: The dependent variables are the different patterns in NSAID usage among positions and the frequency of NSAID use before and after the season.

Results: Of the athletes surveyed, 95.7% had or were using NSAIDs. Athletes first used NSAIDs in junior high school (45.6%), high school (48.5%), or college (5.8%). Athletes were separated into high (daily or weekly) or low (monthly or rarely) utilizers of NSAIDs. High utilization of NSAIDs was more frequent during the season (50.0%) than in the off-season (14.6%), P < 0.001. High NSAID utilization among all players was more prevalent after than before games (32.7% vs 10.9%, P = 0.002). Players with a higher body mass index (BMI; >28) were significantly higher utilizers of NSAIDs, reporting higher rates of use in season compared with other players (57.4% vs 39.5%, P = 0.011, OR = 2.06).

Conclusions: Use of NSAIDs in collegiate football players is common. It is concerning that those athletes with the highest cardiovascular risk (ie, elevated body mass index) use greater amounts of NSAIDs. Further investigation is needed to delineate the short-term and long-term consequences of NSAID utilization in young athletes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Football* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal