Football season, with all its drama and excitement, is rapidly approaching its grand finale. One of my favorite aspects of the game is the long-shot comeback. It’s something I know a little bit about.

Thirty-seven years ago, set to start my third season as the placekicker for the San Diego Chargers, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and eventually needed lifesaving surgery that required over 80 units of blood and left me wearing an ostomy bag. This could have spelled the end of my playing days.

Fortunately, with the help of innovative new products, great medical care and a passion to continue playing I was able to continue my NFL career. Like the 1.5 million Americans who suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and the millions more battling other illnesses, we recognize that many of us were given the chance to follow our dreams because there are doctors and scientists and medical companies working on our behalf and coming up with new treatments to help.

My comeback, and those of so many others, was only possible because of innovation and the stream of new drugs that help us fight and overcome our diseases. This stream, however, will likely dry up very quickly if lawmakers are given the opportunity to control the cost of these drugs. To foster medical innovation, I believe lawmakers must oppose such restrictive efforts.

Prescription drugs are expensive. But there is a good reason for that: It can cost up to $2.6 billion and take as long as 12 years to produce new medicines. Unfortunately, on average only five of every 5,000 new drugs ever make it to the human testing stage. And only one out of those five makes it to the market.

Fifty-seven percent of all new drugs are produced in the United States, but manufacturers can only spend the money and time necessary to develop these drugs if they can recoup some of their investment. Fortunately, today, because of this innovation we are able to treat and cure many diseases we simply couldn’t just a few years ago.

As a sufferer of colitis, but also hepatitis C, I can vouch for the difference medical innovations make. With the advent of biologic and precision medicines — accurate treatments that seek out the cells that need to be treated in each patient — we have made great advances in managing Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis into remission. And breakthrough medicines such as Sovaldi and Viekera Pak are actually curing hepatitis C!

Innovations such as these allowed me to live, to be named Comeback Player of the Year in 1980 and to kick for the Chargers for 10 seasons.

I am 60 years old now and living an active and productive life with a family and working in the health field. My great comeback simply would not have been possible had it not been for the discovery of new treatments. That’s why it’s so alarming to me to see lawmakers across the country introducing laws that could end these medical advances.

In California, New York, North Carolina, Massachusetts and elsewhere, lawmakers are pushing bills that would require pharmaceutical companies to submit reports detailing expenses on research, development, production and profits. This could very well lead to government officials determining how much companies can charge for prescription drugs.

Prescription drugs may be costly, but price controls will stymie innovation and guarantee fewer medical breakthroughs.

A recent analysis done by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that decreasing drug prices by 40 percent to 50 percent would lead to a 60 percent decline in research and development projects among pharmaceutical companies.

Controlling drug prices won’t just kill off new treatments. It will also contribute to rising health care costs. Hospital care is the real center of health-care cost inflation. Over the next 10 years, we are likely to spend $13.5 trillion on hospital care, three times more than we will on prescription drugs.

If there are fewer drugs to manage and cure illness, many of those afflicted will have no alternative to long-term hospital care, which will continue to propel health care costs higher.

My career with the Chargers and my life afterward would not have been possible without the work of drug researchers and device manufacturers. Other Americans afflicted with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and many other illnesses, deserve a chance at their own comeback.

All this work is at risk without the support of lawmakers who recognize the value of medical innovation.

Benirschke, who played for the San Diego Chargers from 1978 to 1986, is national spokesman for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, founder and chairman of the Rolf Benirschke Legacy Foundation, and co-founder and chief patient officer for Legacy Health Strategies.