The world of professional sports is notoriously dense with unimaginable pressure. When performing in the public eye, athletes face a degree of physical and mental stress that regular civilians could hardly begin to imagine. This, in combination with the pain of injury, makes it unsurprising that many are led down drug-ridden paths. How they recover is nothing short of amazing…
Tennis may have a reputation for being a dignified, graceful sport, but even the primmest and most proper athletes are capable of concealing ugly secrets. There may be no greater example of this than that of Andre Agassi, the legendary tennis champ who recently revealed that a hidden struggle with meth dependency at one point threatened to end his career.
Agassi came clean about his use of hard drugs in his recent tell-all autobiography, in which he detailed everything from failing drug tests to lying to the authorities. Luckily, the athlete was able to overcome his addiction in 1997, going on to successfully revive his legendary career.
Thanks to his wildly successful career as an NFL quarterback (not to mention his notoriously long list of endorsements), Brett Favre is a household name. There is one detail about the athlete’s past that is not as widely-publicized, however: his battle with prescription drug addiction.
Like so many Americans today, Favre developed a dependency on drugs after being prescribed opiate painkillers to treat a series of injuries. His addiction to the drug Vicodin soon became emphasized by his increasing alcohol consumption, ultimately leading Favre to suffer a serious seizure. The incident served as a wake-up call for the superstar, who got clean and went on to break records and cement his place in football history.
Though he did still manage to have a long and impactful career in the NBA, fans will always be left to wonder what David Thompson could have done had he reached his full potential. Sadly (as is the case with many celebrities), his use of alcohol and cocaine quickly became far more than just a fun escape from the pressures of the public eye.
The party-heavy lifestyle proved too much for the athlete, pushing him to seek sobriety multiple times through multiple rehabilitation centers as his career unraveled. Luckily, his efforts stuck in time to save his life, leading the Hall of Famer to a peaceful, drug-free retirement.
MLB star Josh Hamilton has had a somewhat rocky path to success, to say the least. Before finally finding redemption in the form of a $125 million spot on the Angels’ roster, the struggling athlete famously spent nearly a decade scraping rock bottom as the effects of crack cocaine chipped away at his once-powerful body and mind.
After losing his first multi-million dollar pro contract, his home, his will to live, and a dangerous amount of weight, Hamilton sought out his kind-hearted grandmother for help in his darkest hour. Thanks to her guidance as well as a newfound connection with religion, Hamilton was able to get clean and come back to the major leagues stronger than ever.
Few may know that Lawrence Taylor, frequently said to be the most-feared player in NFL history, has had experience fighting off some pretty terrifying demons of his own. Since his retirement, Taylor has revealed via autobiography that he struggled immensely with cocaine and crack dependency near the beginning of his now-legendary career.
The superstar’s explosive book not only detailed his regular use of high-risk substances, but also the efforts NFL officials took to keep his secret under wraps, including knowingly disregarding the topic during negotiations and even accepting fraudulent drug test samples. Though the league may have turned a blind eye, Taylor was able to spot his own red flags, prompting him to quietly seek help and get sober.