November 16, 2014 / 11:53 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. drug agents conduct surprise inspections of NFL medical staffs: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. drug agents carried out surprise inspections of the medical staffs of some NFL teams on Sunday in an investigation of alleged prescription drug abuse in the league, the Washington Post reported.

The newspaper, citing a senior law enforcement official, said agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Transportation Security Administration searched bags and questioned team doctors because of a suspicion that teams dispensed drug illegally to keep players on the field.

The medical staffs that were questioned included those of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers, the paper said, adding the DEA was expected to inspect a total of six teams on Sunday.

The DEA, NFL, the 49ers, and the Buccaneers did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The probe was not limited to those clubs, the official was quoted as saying, adding it focused on league-wide practices, “including possible distribution of drugs without prescriptions or labels, and the dispensing of drugs by trainers rather than physicians.”

A DEA spokesman told the Post the investigation followed a class-action suit filed in May by more than 1,300 retired National Football League players alleging that teams’ medical staffs violated the law in giving players narcotics and painkillers to help them play through injuries.

Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by W Simn

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