Despite Risks, College Football Still Uses Powerful Painkiller

Former USC player says drug given to him by team doctor led to heart attack at 20.
3:00 | 01/03/13

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Transcript for Despite Risks, College Football Still Uses Powerful Painkiller
Game day at USC Los Angeles. Part -- -- huge college football industry. All depended on star student athletes giving everything on the feet. Even -- -- was suspected of US football player especially at a university like USC where. You know football is so important. Now ABC news has found that behind the scenes of that drive to win. In tucked away training rooms. Is the closely held secret of team doctors using powerful prescription painkillers. To get student athletes on the field despite painful injuries. -- felt superhuman you can't feel your pain is so amazing went out. Played a great game. Okay. Former USC defensive lineman -- and arms. Numbered 94. Is one of the many players student no the secret of the painkillers and he says suffer the consequence here. On my thought you know and can be me in this doesn't happen to kids like me and you had a heart attack. That -- time. The six foot 5290. Pound -- The picture of health with no family history of heart problems suffered a heart attack in his junior year at USC at the age of twenty. Which he and his parents in the lawsuit blamed on the painkillers that USC team doctor gave him. He was a race horse -- resource that. You know need to be on that field no matter what. And where -- that was a risk to him or not. In the lawsuit Armstead alleges the doctor and the school ignored the known risk of heart attack from the painkiller being used a generic version of -- ago. Developed for post operative care and hospitals. The manufacturer's label clearly warns of the increased risk of -- -- -- -- -- auction heart attack and stroke which can be fatal. Armstead says he usually got the shots before big games and at halftime in the so called shot -- to relieve severe ankle and shoulder pain. Never told the name of the drug or its risks recess. No. At no point -- -- so could you gone on the field for the Notre Dame in he's stealing games without the shots. And painless at this point the pain was very bad. Medical records show most of Constance -- -- golf painkiller injections were administered by USC team doctor James to -- Who a leading medical ethics expert says has an obligation to disclose all risks. Even if you're the team physician you still have to follow the standard of care and informed consent you better be disclosing all risks. In a brief interview outside his office doctor to Boni confirmed he uses -- -- on USC players but said he was hesitant to talk about Armstead. Because of the pending lawsuit in the case of the. The lawsuit. They say that you never -- he never told him about the side effects of -- and I can't this is you know the laws that you don't feel it's appropriate to use. The young healthy people. We use it -- still use -- But not even the USC football coach Lane Kiffin. -- of the use of the painkiller or its risks until he says we told him. Well if that was -- did not know that -- -- -- but it that is accurate information I would want to that is that is as -- said earlier on I'm not. Our coverage in the street you think you might be. You educated. Thank him. There seems to be a collective ignorance and college football about the use and dangers of such pain killers. NCAA. Which regulates recruiting and boosters told us it does not regulate or even keep track of the use of -- -- on student athlete. If we keep track of what happens let's say to horses. And horse racing don't we go to the athletes to keep track of what's going on in college sports. Arm and Armstead says he is now fully recovered. And to prove that to NFL scouts he played this year for the Toronto -- for his team won the Canadian Football League version of the Super Bowl. He was named to the all star team as a rookie. All done without any -- -- A drug arms and says he would like to see bad. If you feel like. You can't play with the pain if you can't play through the pain. And maybe you should just sit out resting. That your body.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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