A survey released by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) showed significant dissatisfaction with medical care within the NFL. It was shown by the survey that 93 percent of NFL players were not satisfied with their team’s injury management. Over 75 percent of players do not trust the medical staff for their team. There is however more confidence in their trainers.
One example given by the survey of player’s lack of trust in their team’s doctor is the doctor of the San Diego Chargers. The San Diego Chargers doctor, David Chao, lost a medical malpractice lawsuit and is now facing an attempt to have his medical license suspended or revoked. The NFLPA also wants Chao replaced as the team’s doctor. The NFLPA says that Chao’s troubles show why there needs to be a system set up by the NFL to verify all team medical personnel’s credentials.
Chao, who specializes in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, was found to be liable in 2012 for medical malpractice in a case that involved a regular patient. This patient was not a Chargers player. The Drug Enforcement Administration had also investigated Chao in 2010 for writing over one hundred drug prescriptions to himself. This violated the controlled-substance regulations. An attorney for a pharmaceutical company said that the prescriptions provided to the Chargers were to be used by the medical team for the team to treat patients. There are also records that show that he has been publically reprimanded. He has also pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence.
The Medical Board of California is seeking to revoke Chao’s license due to a variety of charges. There have been allegations of repeated negligent acts, gross negligence, and a failure to maintain accurate and adequate medical records. The NFLPA believes that NFL players deserve to have a doctor who has not been found liable for medical malpractice, especially not a doctor who has been found liable within the last year.
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