NFL Players Use Viagra As A (Football) Performance Enhancer

Now we know what’s going on in those fumble pileups! I mean, actually, we knew that already: ball-grabbing.

Is that the Viagra you’re taking for blood oxygenation purposes, or are you just happy to see me? Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

OK! Bet you didn’t see that coming. In the hubbub over Adderall, the trendy new performance-enhancing drug sweeping through the NFL, Brandon Marshall dropped a revelation that, at first glance, seems completely bizarre and incomprehensible. Viagra? At first, you might think, What good is a raging erection when you’re playing professional football? The answer may surprise you. The answer is…actually, no, there’s no surprise here. An erection does you zero good when playing professional football.

However, Sports Illustrated dug up a couple-years-old New York Times story that explained how the effects of Viagra that could be beneficial for an athlete. Essentially, what Viagra does is improve the transportation of oxygenated blood around the body — obviously a positive for athletes whose bodies are in constant, desperate want of more oxygen than they can take in just by breathing. (Hence the use of oxygen on the bench.)

And, contrary to popular belief — I think? At least my belief? What do people actually believe about Viagra? — Viagra only causes an erection if a man is sexually stimulated. (I learned this via the Google search “how does Viagra work.”) So, unless the player finds football sexually stimulating — any sadists and masochists out there? — then he should be exempt from the possibility of having to play with a pitched tent. Instead, he can benefit from the increasingly efficient flow of blood to his body, helping him fend off fatigue and the other tolls on a body that a high-intensity sport like football tends to take. (Except for concussions. Guessing that Viagra doesn’t do much for concussions.)

H/T Chris Burke at Sports Illustrated

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