Former USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead claims in a lawsuit that he suffered a heart attack after the 2010 season because the school's training staff uses a drug that carries fatal risks, according to ABC News.
Armstead, 20, who has since left USC, alleges that university personnel have knowingly used generic Toradol over the course of the past few seasons. And, he said, the trainers regularly do not tell the players about the risks of using it.
"I thought, you know, can't be me, you know? This doesn't happen to kids like me," Armstead told ABC News.
USC has declined comment on Armstead's claims. The school and Dr. James Tibone, who allegedly gave Armstead weekly injections, have requested to have Armstead's lawsuit dismissed.
Toradol, often administered on game days to allow individuals to play while injured, has labels that state risks include possible fatal heart attack, stroke or organ failure. The label says the risks may increase with its continued use.
It is intended for post-operative pain in hospitals, but it has found its way into college and pro contact sports.
According to an ABC News investigation, USC is not the only school using the pain-killer on its college football players.
Nineteen of the nation's Top 25 college football teams -- including No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama -- either confirmed they used the drugs or declined to comment to ABC News' survey. Oklahoma, Ohio State, Oregon State, Boise State and Georgia officials said they do not use it. Nebraska said its doctors restrict the drug's use.
"While team physicians reserve the option to use injectable Toradol, it is rarely prescribed, and its use has been avoided this season following reports of heightened concern of potential adverse effects," Nebraska said in a statement to ABC News.
The NCAA has no guidelines against using Toradol or the similar Ketorolac. The NFL, NHL and NBA allow Toradol's use, but require monitoring of injections with reports to the league.
Armstead maintains Tibone, a school representative, administered the drug without stating the risks.
"He was a race horse, a prize race horse that needed to be on that field no matter what," said Armstead's mother, Christa. "Whether that was a risk to him or not."
Armstead told ABC News he would receive what was known as "the shot" before big games and at halftime.
"No discussion, just go in. He would give the shot and I would be on my way," said Armstead, adding the shot made him feel "super human." He said without it, he never would have played in 2010 games against Notre Dame and UCLA.
"You can't feel any pain, you just feel amazing," the former star player said.
USC coach Lane Kiffin said last month he did not know if Toradol was being used on his players.
"Well, if that was the case then, yeah, I did not know that until you told me," Kiffin said. "You educated me, thank you."