College Football Medical Experts. Are They College Or Players Health Advocates?

Which side do they take?  

If you talk to former National Football League players, you will find that they question whether medical personnel who were hired by NFL teams or college teams really looked after their best interests. Or were they cashing paychecks and telling football owners or conference coaches what they wanted to hear? Was a player healthy enough to perform or not? Former NFL players have read books and articles that have suggested doctors enjoyed the prestige of being an NFL or college team doctor and the football organization came first and the player’s health second. There seems to be dueling views on whether college football can be played safely during the COVID-19 epidemic. The Southeast Conference came out with a schedule for the 2020 season which was joyfully celebrated by members of the sports media whose jobs depend on college football. Yet the Atlantic Coast Conference’s football ship hit an iceberg when the University of North Carolina had an outbreak of COVID-19 which forced the school to switch to online classes. The COVID-19 outbreak was no big deal to the University of North Carolina’s athletic department or the Atlantic Coast Conference. The football team is going to play. Yet the university claims health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches and staff and the community remain the top priority. Actually, making sure the football related revenue flows into the school is the top priority.

The NCAA’s chief medical officer Dr. Brian Hainline is not quite sure the ACC, the SEC and the Big 12 conferences can safely proceed with the season. Dr. Hainline said more nationwide COVID-19 testing is needed and without it, it will be tough to get through the season. But there are players and medical advisors who say play especially if a new rapid COVID-19 test actually works. Are those medical advisors telling college bosses what they want to hear or are they players’ advocates?

Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
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