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The craze among National Football League players for huffing smelling salts between plays is drawing increasing scrutiny, with some fearing it could mask concussion symptoms.
A new report in ESPN: The Magazine estimates that as many as 80 per cent of NFL players partake in the craze, swearing by the 'slap in the face' pick-me-up from ammonium-based inhalants.
Current - Star - Quarterbacks - Tom - Brady
Current and former star quarterbacks Tom Brady, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning are all known smelling salt enthusiasts, with Brady admitting in a previous radio interview: 'We all do it.'
Though ammonium smelling salts have been safely used for centuries to revive consciousness, most famously on fainting women in Victorian Britain, some are concerned by the rampant off-label use as an 'energy boost' on the NFL sidelines.
Term - NFL - Salts - Use - Dr
'The term I keep coming back to with the NFL and smelling salts is 'not for the intended use,'' Dr. Joseph Estwanik, a fellow with the American College of Sports Medicine, told the magazine. 'And a similar term for that is just 'abuse.''
'The claim is that smelling salts arouse your consciousness and focus, but how many of us in our daily lives think it's appropriate during a tough day at work to open a bottle of ammonia and start sniffing the fumes?' said Estwanik.
'Ammonia - Use - Athlete - Ammonia - Peak
'Ammonia's intended use is for cleaning. Giving a highly trained elite athlete ammonia to help them perform at their peak is like throwing a drowning man a cup of coffee,' Estwanik said.
Players swear by the stuff though, and footage abounds of hulking linebackers making cartoonish bug-eyes on the bench after huffing a whiff of ammonium.
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