“As a specific relation to professional sports, frankly, I don't think they've done enough” to address painkiller addiction, McCain said on the ESPN/ABC podcast “Capital Games.”
The Arizona senator said he wants to see the Senate Commerce Committee – a panel he once chaired – to convene broad hearings on drug abuse and addiction, in addition to major injuries such as concussions. McCain last month held a news conference with former athletes to call on the NFL to cooperate more fully in regards to brain research.
“I'd like to see more attention on the Congress on this whole unique aspect and dangers and hazards that are true in professional sports, especially the contact sports,” McCain said. “Why don't we make people aware of the dangers of these painkillers, of getting hooked on them? Why don't we do a better job of awareness?”
NFL officials in particular have begun to focus more on chronic brain injuries, McCain said, particularly after reaching a nearly $1 billion settlement with former players suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
“I'm sure it's got their attention and I think they are making some progress,” he said.