Thursday, October 21, 2010

No Apology Necessary

A physician should not have to apologize for protecting the health of an athlete. Football at the university level, like professional football, is a multi-million dollar business. With all of the emphasis on television, bowl bids, gate receipts and coaching contracts, the athlete is often left as a pawn with the medical staff serving at what seems like his only advocate. Ed Wesley, TCU running back, suffered a concussion against SMU on September 24. After Wesley was diagnosed with a concussion with a brief loss of consciousness, TCU Head Football Coach Gary Patterson confronts and proceeds to berate Dr. Haraldson for not allowing Ed Wesley to return. The day after the game, Coach Patterson told a journalist for ESPN Dallas that Ed Wesley was ”fine 10 minutes after he got hurt”. On October 21, ESPN revisited the story by reporting that Dr. Haraldson apologized to Coach Patterson. Possibly the greatest mistake that a coach can make is to compromise an athlete’s health. A public disagreement between a coach and physician such as this may place athletes in a position where they may not truthfully report injuries. That is a true disservice to the athlete.

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