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USC Settles Former Player's Toradol Lawsuit

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Former USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead reached a settlement in his lawsuit against the school and a team doctor regarding the doctor's use of the painkiller Toradol. Armstead claimed doctor James Tibone's overuse of the drug led to a heart attack 2011.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

A Potentially Lethal Drug

Toradol is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkiller with serious side effects if used continually. The extensive use of the drug in football came to light in Dan LeBatard's piece on Jason Taylor in 2013.

Armstead claims team physicians injected him with Toradol, without telling him what it was or explaining the side effects, 10 times during the 2010 season. In March of 2011, Armstead suffered the first of multiple heart attacks that would derail his football career.

According to the FDA, drugs like Toradol "may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal." Armstead's attorneys released a statement following the settlement:

"In Mr. Armstead's opinion, college teams and team doctors should be required to inform student athletes of the known risks associated with the use of Toradol, including, at a minimum, being provided the warnings and medication guides approved and required for this drug by the FDA. Mr. Armstead believes that the repeated use of Toradol poses certain medical risks to student athletes."

A Career Cut Short

Armstead was never medically cleared to play his senior season in 2011, although the school never disclosed an injury. Once considered a top NFL prospect, the former defensive tackle went undrafted in 2012 and played one season in the Canadian Football League.

In 2013, Armstead signed a contract with the New England Patriots, but retired before ever playing a game. His lawsuit revealed that he had suffered another heart attack before quitting the game. It was unclear from his medical malpractice claim whether Armstead had a disability insurance policy popular among top college athletes.

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