Harvard researchers claim NFL should sever team physicians' relationship with coaches — 5 takeaways

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Boston-based Harvard Law School researchers conducted a two year study that advised any medical personnel caring for NFL players, such as team physicians, to not report to team management or coaches as it may impede player health, Sports Illustrated reported.

Researchers published their findings in a study titled "Protecting and Promoting the Health of NFL Players: Legal and Ethical Analysis and Recommendations."


Here are five takeaways:


1. The researchers give 76 recommendations, including advising the NFL and NFL Players Association to refrain from using health issues during collective bargaining negotiations.


2. The study also recommends the associations to put players with diagnosed concussions on a short-term injured reserve list that does not count against the team's active roster.


3. The study proposed a recommendation advocating for team physicians to have separate roles either as "Players' Medical Staff" (with exclusive loyalty to the player) or the "Club Evaluation Doctor" (with exclusive loyalty to the club).

4. Following the study's release, the NFL issued a 33-page response that argued NFL physicians do not have a conflict of interest. Jeffrey Miller, the NFL's executive vice president of health and safety, referred to the study's proposed changes as "untenable and impractical."

5. NFL Players Association funded the research. Harvard Law School said the research was independent of NFL or player influence.


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