PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s been decades since No. 59 — Steelers great Jack Ham — was hitting and taking hits on the football field.
Now he’s teaming up with AGRiMED, a company vying for a license to grow medical marijuana in Greene County, Ham told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.
Delano: “How in the world did you get involved with medical marijuana?”
Ham: “It’s kind of a long story, Jon.”
Ham says his work in the coal industry near Carmichaels, where his wife grew up, led to the connection.
“People I work with down there got me involved with AGRiMED, and it kind of just snowballed from there. We ended up putting a relationship together, and I’m really glad we did.”
AGRiMED is vying for one of 12 licenses that will be granted statewide to grow marijuana for medical use only, and Ham sees his role as educating people.
“Medical marijuana people are thinking about Woodstock, talking getting high, and that’s not the point,” says Ham.
The Hall of Fame outside linebacker sees medical cannabis as a key pain management alternative to opioids and prescription drugs.
Delano: “If anyone knows anything about pain, it’s got to be a Super Bowl player, not once but four times.”
Ham: “Well, ex-football player. I think the injuries and the pain management that players go through doesn’t happen one or two years after you retire. It’s down the road.”
And he says he’s talked to lots of players and former players.
“I think the NFL has to take a look at this for ex-players, players like me, for opportunities to do something rather than opioids, rather than pain killers.”
Now 68 years old, Ham recalls one foot injury just before a Super Bowl.
“I was taking all those prescription drugs because the pain with the food injury was really very difficult for me to deal with, and if I had other options out there…”
He didn’t, but he hopes future athletes and the public will.