Ahead of what is being dubbed the first-ever Marijuana Bowl–between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos–NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league may allow players to use medicinal marijuana to treat concussions if medical experts approved the treatment.
“I’m not a medical expert. We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that,” Goodell said on Thursday, according to USA Today. “Our medical experts are not saying that right now.”
Super Bowl participants, Denver and Seattle, play in the two states–Colorado and Washington–that have legalized recreational marijuana. Twenty other states, in addition to Washington, D.C., allow for some use of medical marijuana. Though President Barack Obama compared football to smoking cigarettes and said if he had a son he would not allow him to play professional football, Obama also said he believed marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol.
USA Today noted that a “report on HBO’s ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’ recently estimated that between 50%-60% of the league’s players regularly use the drug, many for pain management. The show also interviewed an Israeli doctor who showed how treating mice with head trauma with marijuana showed drastic improvement in their symptoms.”
Other players have estimated that up to 80% of players in the league may be smoking marijuana, even though the NFL currently bans marijuana and players face up to a four-game suspension if they test positive for the substance.