A former USC football player is suing the university, claiming that mandatory injections led him to have a heart attack.
Armond Armstead, a 22-year-old defensive lineman, filed a suit Thursday alleging that painkillers caused a heart attack, which ruined his chances of playing in the NFL. While the lawsuit does not disclose a financial settlement amount, he may request an NFL player's multi-million-dollar salary, the Daily Trojan reports.
The suit alleges that Armstead was injected 10 times over a period of a few weeks during the 2010 season, sometimes twice a day, with anti-inflammatory drug Toradol and other anti-inflammatory drugs "in a quantity and frequency that exceeded maximum dosage guidelines, recommendations and restrictions," USA Today reports. Roger A. Dreyer, Armstead's lawyer, said "these injections were mandatory. This is not something where Armond said, 'I want an injection,'" the Los Angeles Times reports.
During the winter of 2011, the 6'5" 295-pound player went to USC's health center complaining of chest pains and was injected twice with Toradol, according to the lawsuit. In March 2011, he was hospitalized after physicians at USC University Hospital determined he had suffered a heart attack, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.
Dreyer commented that there's something wrong when "a 20-year-old kid, beyond fit, a world-class athlete… has a heart attack because of something USC administered," the Sacramento Bee reports.
"The parents, when their sons are being recruited, are told, 'trust us, we'll take care of your kid.' In this case, he was given shots not to help him, but to get him back on the field," he continued.
The suit names the university, an unnamed pharmaceutical company, football team physician Dr. James Tibone and the University Park Health Center as defendants.
Armstead was allegedly never warned of the side effects, even though the medication's packaging warns of risk of heart attack and stroke. The suit also alleges that USC officials concealed the Toradol injections from other physicians.
After his heart attack, he was forced to sit out of the 2011 season because the school did not clear him to play, which Dreyer said had a "devastating" effect on the player's career goals.
After missing the 2011 season, Armstead hired an agent and contemplated transferringbut USC would not let him participate in spring pro day on campus, the Orange County Register reports.
Dreyer said this case is not an isolated one and that it reflects a larger problem of painkillers in college sports. "Something bad happened here, and it gives a voice to a lot of kids who I think will come out of the woodwork across the country for misuse," he told the Bee.
USC issued a statement saying it was "inappropriate at this time" for the university to comment on the suit.