The history of medical malpractice in college and professional football is long, deep, and really, really ugly. The NFL told Dr. Elliott Pellman, a rheumatologist who received his medical training in Guajajara and often faked his references, with responsibility for its mild head injury committee for more than two decades before Roger Goodell “asked him”. To retire in 2016. Pellman was famous for advising concussed gamers to return to gaming and minimize the long-term medical effects of gaming. It could be argued that Pellman has been able to survive in the industry for so long despite its obvious flaws; I would say Pellman was precisely the kind of doctor the NFL wanted.
And as historian Taylor Branch pointed out in a groundbreaking article for Atlantic called, “The shame of college sportThe NCAA coined the term “student-athlete” to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits to injured players. Denying “amateur” players their rights as employees gives the NCAA an opportunity to pay them, but it also gives this particular cabal a clear path to a lack of accountability for how injuries are handled.
We could cite thousands of examples in the NFL or the NCAA, but let’s move on to what happened to Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields at the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Friday night. Fields had the game of his life, but the results could have been tragic. This brutal blow from Clemson linebacker James Skalski had Skalski ejected for targeting, but he apparently also brought Fields back into the game without any sort of diagnosis from Ohio State medical staff.
Thus, Fields received injections of painkillers, but he was not informed of the risks of returning to the field. This is indeed messed up, and the Ohio State Sports Department should be called to the mat to explain how and why it happened. Denying Fields what he needs to make an informed decision about his own health is an inexcusable violation, and it should never happen, as it often does.