NFL Player Health: The Role of Club Doctors

30 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2016

See all articles by I. Glenn Cohen

I. Glenn Cohen

Harvard Law School

Holly Fernandez Lynch

Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Chris Deubert

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP

Date Written: November 21, 2016

Abstract

This online publication includes two documents published in a Hastings Center Special Report – NFL Player Health: The Role of Club Doctors. The Special Report was published as part of the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University. The first document is the main article for the Special Report, entitled A Proposal to Address NFL Club Doctors’ Conflicts of Interest and to Promote Player Trust. This article focuses on the principal recommendation of our report, “Protecting and Promoting the Health of NFL Players: Legal and Ethical Analysis and Recommendations,” for addressing the conflicts of interest inherent in the current structure of NFL player healthcare, in which club medical staff provide services to both the club and players. The article proposes to “resolve the problem of dual loyalty by largely severing the club doctor’s ties with the club and refashioning that role into one of singular loyalty to the player-patient.” Specifically, club physicians would be replaced by two sets of medical professionals: the players’ medical staff, with exclusive loyalty to the player, and the club evaluation doctor, with exclusive loyalty to the club. Existing ethical codes and legal requirements are not adequate to ensure that players receive health care that is trustworthy and as free of conflicts of interest as is realistically possible, the article says, making structural change necessary. “This structure – which is flawed even in the absence of ethical lapses by any individual club doctor – may substantially contribute to player health concerns,” it concludes. The Special Report also included commentaries from a diverse and highly-qualified group of experts, including: · Arthur L. Caplan, Lee H. Igel, and Brendan Parent, New York University,

· Richard Diana, former NFL player and current sports medicine specialist,

· Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, current NFL player and offseason medical student,

· Ross McKinney, Association of American Medical Colleges and NFLPA consultant,

· National Football League Physicians Society,

· Mark A. Rothstein, University of Louisville,

· Marvin Washington, former NFL player. The commentaries can be found on the Wiley Online Library. This online publication includes our response to the commentaries.

Keywords: NFL, NFLPA, Player Health, CBA, Club Doctors, Team Doctors, Sports Medicine, Conflicts of Interest, Concussion, CTE

Suggested Citation

Cohen, I. Glenn and Lynch, Holly Fernandez and Deubert, Chris, NFL Player Health: The Role of Club Doctors (November 21, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2879441 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2879441

I. Glenn Cohen

Harvard Law School ( email )

1525 Massachusetts Avenue
Griswold Hall 503
Cambridge, 02138
United States

Holly Fernandez Lynch

Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Chris Deubert (Contact Author)

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP

Boston, MA 02116

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