Updated: Thursday, 03 Jan 2013, 6:39 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 03 Jan 2013, 4:26 PM EST
(WTNH) -- This time of the year, even casual fans pay a lot of attention to college sports with high-profile football bowl games being played on every night.
However, what does it take to keep these young athletes on the field, in a sport where violent collisions happen on every play?
It's a billion dollar industry that turns young players into household names and coaches into millionaires, but are some schools going over the line, giving players powerful prescription painkillers to get them back on the field too soon?
On Thursday, News 8's Keith Kountz spoke to ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross about his special report airing on Nightline.
In his eye-opening special report Ross takes an inside look at what really goes on inside the training rooms of some of college football's biggest programs and a prescription painkiller used to keep star athletes on the field.
The painkiller is a generic version of the Toredol, designed primarily for use in hospital to treat post operative pain.
In the piece, Ross talks to former USC football player Armond Armstead, who was given shots of the drug to relieve ankle and shoulder pain.
"He says he felt superhuman, the pain completely disappeared and he felt he could do anything and had great games," said Ross, "lots of sacks on the field, tackled the quarterback, all thanks to the drug, only later did he suffer the consequences."
Armstead suffered a heart attack at the age of 20.
In our News 8 interview, Ross told us that Toredol is not new to professional locker rooms, but it's impossible to know how widely it's being used on the college level.
"But in the professional leagues, at least, the NFL, NBA and NHL, they require teams to keep track of its use and to file reports with the league, the NCAA has no such requirement, they don't even track it or regulate it and they frankly are clueless about how widespread its use is or the possible dangers," Ross said.
Ross says he asked the top 25 football schools about Toredol and only three admitted to using it. He says a majority of the others flat out refused to answer questions about it.
However, according to Ross, players are also often willing to do whatever it takes to stay on the field.
"These are young men who want to play," Ross said, "not just the team, they want to play and in many cases their whole future and careers depend on them playing."