Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, popularly known as “Johnny Football,” has entered rehab for alcohol problems. Manziel, who was the youngest freshman to receive the Heisman Trophy, has had alcohol-related troubles in the past, but more recently they appear to have been affecting his performance as a team member.
Following an arrest in 2012—the year of his Heismann award—for disorderly conduct, Manziel saw an alcohol counselor for a short period of time, but has been known to lead an active social life that centered around parties and drinking. His voluntary submission to treatment is welcome news to his team.
Early success and the level of discipline and determination required to be a top-level athlete can certainly be an impediment when it comes to making an admission that one needs help. For an award-winning star in a highly competitive sport, the aura of invincibility may have been compelling to Manziel, as others have tried in the past to convince him to change his behavior. Upon entering treatment, however, Manziel told friends that he wanted to “figure out his value system” by taking a break and giving priority to the recovery process.
Over seventeen million people—one in every twelve in the US—suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, and the ripple effect of their behavior spreads outward to affect even more. Alcoholism is the third leading cause of death in the nation attributable to lifestyle-related causes, and up to forty per cent of all hospital beds in the US (besides maternity and intensive care) are being used to treat alcohol-related problems. Counting the alcohol-related cost of lost productivity, damaged families, traffic accidents, law enforcement, interrupted education, assault, and sexual misconduct—to name just a few—alcohol abuse constitutes a major social problem for the US, as well as for the rest of the world.
Every cry for help, and every admission to treatment, can lead to a problem-drinker becoming part of a national solution. We applaud Johnny Manziel’s willingness to participate in recovery by surrendering to treatment, and we wish him and his family the best possible outcome in this promising turn of events.
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