'Abuse' of painkillers is threatening the careers and long-term health of international footballers, said FIFA's chief medical officer.
Dr Jiri Dvorak found that almost 40 percent of players during the 2010 World Cup had taken pain medication before every game.
FIFA's medical team had asked a team of doctors to provide a list of medications that players had taken before every game during 2010 World Cup.
According to The BBC, the results from South Africa 2010, published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, revealed that the use of painkillers had increased.
There were huge differences between countries, with some teams doling out over three medications per player per game.
Teams from North and South America had the highest reported use of medications per match and per player.
Pressure to get injured players back on the pitch is a factor in the use of painkillers, Dr. Dvorak said.
He said that younger players were imitating the seniors and taking painkillers far too frequently.
"We have to change the attitude. It is a cultural phenomenon because the medications are so easily accessible," he said.
"I think we can use the word abuse because the dimension is just too much," Dr. Dvorak said.
Experts have said that painkilling medication can be particularly dangerous in professional sport.