The Medicalization of Sports
A study of the consumption of painkillers in elite team sports

Niklas Granberg & Nadja Korhonen
Dalarna University

Aim: To identify and describe the consumption of pain relieving substances amongst elite athletes in different team sports. The results were analyzed with Coakley and Hughes’ (1991) theory of a Sport ethic and Heinilä’s theory of Totalization (1982:12(3) s 235-253).

Methods: The athletes have filled out a questionnaire.

Results: There were 163 athletes; 102 males and 61 females. 10 teams from 5 different sports were investigated with one male and one female team represented in each sport. 71,8 percent of the athletes reported a use of at least one pain relieving substance during the last season. Men are the only ones using pain relieving shots as well as taking the substances more frequently then the women. The highest consumption of pills is amongst male ice hockey players. They also dominate the usage of pain relieving shots as well as having the most positive attitude towards taking risks. 75 percent of the athletes reports unawareness of side-effects that the substance they use might cause.

Copyright © Niklas Granberg & Nadja Korhonen