Former NHL enforcer Tom Sestito is the most recent player to open up about his experience with prescription painkiller and Ambien use.
Sestito, who suited up in 154 NHL games, detailed how at times he was given (and using) “insane” amounts of Toradol, an anti-inflammatory, non-narcotic painkiller, and Ambien, which is usually used to treat insomnia.
"Good for Robin Lehner standing up for the greater good, I can only speak for myself, the amount of vitamin T (Toradol) and Ambien I was given is insane. As the NHL is getting a lot younger these kids should know what they are walking into," Sestito tweeted on Monday.
Sestito's comments came just after Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner tweeted about several issues, but his claims that many teams around the NHL shell out unprescribed medication such as Ambien, painkillers and benzodiazepines to players seemed to gather the most momentum over the past couple of days.
In a following tweet, Lehner called for the Philadelphia Flyers to fire “dinosaur” coach Alain Vigneault. What followed was massive speculation and assumption that the goaltender was accusing the Flyers' coaching staff of handing out pills.
Vigneault adamantly denied claims of ever mistreating players before Lehner clarified to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan on Monday that he was not accusing Vigneault or any specific member of a team of giving unprescribed medication to players. The NHLPA and NHL have apparently reached out to Lehner.
Sestito, meanwhile, capped his comments by providing some details of his personal experience with an NHL team’s medical staff as a fringe player in the league.
But Tom, didn’t they tell you what it was for and the side effects it caused or did they just say “here take this”?
— Jim Iacovone (@JimIkeHW) October 4, 2021
I was given a bottle of Toradol, I was a fringe player in the NHL after taking then I felt amazing. Not a pain in my body, you’re taught to believe that the doctors have your best interest where that’s not always the case. And no they don’t explain all the drugs they provide
— Tom Sestito (@TomSestito23) October 4, 2021
Sestito also said it took him close to a year after being off Ambien "to learn how to sleep again." The overuse and abuse of Toradol in the NHL has been reported previously. TSN’s Rick Westhead talked to multiple former players, including former Vancouver Canucks star Ryan Kesler, who was personally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease due to his extensive Toradol use during his career.
Sestito however did give credit to the Pittsburgh Penguins for weaning him off the drug, tweeting:
"Also, there are great organizations in the NHL, (the Penguins) team of doctors were the ones to get me off all that shit, and were dumbfounded as to why I had all of it to begin with."
The now-retired Sestito spent nine years in the NHL with four different organizations, scoring 21 points and earning 499 penalty minutes in 154 games split between the Blue Jackets, Flyers, Canucks and Penguins.
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