So at 3:15pm EST the NFLPA will hold a news conference to discuss some “goings on”; the biggest nugget in this presser will be the announcement of a 100 million grant for Harvard over 10 years to study them. All aspects of player health is the word I seem to be getting. Which is good, because for a long time the former player has been neglected and has led to current and future players taking risks their bodies will not be able to cash in down the road. I believe you can catch it live on YouTube as well, perhaps someone can provide the link in the comments…
In other NFLPA news, Deadspin and Barry Petchesky wrote about how players are overwhelmingly disenfranchised with the medical care they receive as a big-bad NFL player;
An NFLPA study, the results of which were obtained by the Washington Post, finds that the vast majority of players have serious doubts about the care they’re provided.
The NFLPA asked its players to gauge on a one to five scale how much they trust their team’s medical staff. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said five, meaning they’re not satisfied at all. An additional 15 percent said four, and just three percent responded to the question with a one or a two.
“The most troubling aspect of the survey for me is that lack of belief that the doctors are treating them for their players own health, safety and wellness reasons,” DeMaurice Smith said.
Perhaps this is why the NFL is entrusting the elite Harvard to study such things and happenings to players over a long-term time frame. Petchesky also takes part of the article to touch on the conflict of interest (COI) that is VERY rampant on the NFL sidelines concerning medical care. If you have followed and read here long enough you will know it is something that we have been harping on for over two-year and one of our illustrious commentators, Don Brady, has written a dissertation that includes this problem.
Simple facts are that the team athletic trainers are paid by the team, not the players, and in a majority of NFL clubs the “team doctor” is actually paying for the privilege. In a business model, it would appear – in my humble opinion – that the teams are making sure their priorities are met when it comes to injuries. NOW HOLD ON… There are some very outstanding athletic trainers and doctors that roam the hallowed sidelines of the National Football League, and they are VERY VERY VERY good at what they do, but the appearance – TO THE ACTUAL PLAYERS – is that their medical care may not be in their best interest.
I am not throwing anyone under the bus here, I am merely pointing out what has been happening for a very long time. In a perfect world the NFL sidelines would be patrolled by medical officials that are impartial to the team and represent the player, as it is their safety on the line. It would be great to have a system I am honored to have at the high school I work at. I can remove/substitute any player at any time for a medical check, and when I say that player is out, the word is final until evaluated by a physician.
It takes cojones to tell your best player they are out with an injury, that seems ‘OK’, but could risk further injury; knowing fully that removing such player will bring scrutiny and even a bad outcome for the team. Not to mention the parents and coaches barking down your neck if it’s a decision that they are not fully comfortable with. However this is our job.
What can the NFLPA and NFL do? Well it would take an extreme overhaul and some serious consternation from clubs and coaches, heck even some players. The medical officials would have to be independent of the team, probably provided by the NFLPA or some other entity, and would have to have job security for more than two years. Trust would have to be built by the team and players for the team medicos to be both efficient and accurate 100% of the time. The whole lot would have to be resigned to the fact that some injuries that are deemed “game ending” may in fact be nothing more than a day-to-day type of situation.
I happen to know a certain (actually a ton) of people willing to take on this challenge. What have you say NFLPA?