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NFLPA: 78 percent of players don't trust team doctors

The SportsXchange

The NFL Players Association officials said that 78 percent of its members did "not trust at all" the team doctors, it was announced during the NFLPA's Thursday press conference in New Orleans.

Also, the NFLPA said 93 percent of players had some level of mistrust for team doctors. As for the training staffs, 50 percent of the players thought they were doing a better than average job. And 63 percent said they were not satisfied with their team's injury management.

"Our goal, our purpose and our obligation for existing is to defend the rights of our players," NFLPA president Dominique Foxworth said. "That's where it starts and that's where it ends for us. We've shown decisions, as a body of players, that we understand our obligation."

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said he had three areas he wanted the league to address to improve the trust with the doctors and trainers:

-- An independent sideline concussion expert at each game.

-- A credentialing system for each team's medical staff.

-- And for a do away with waiver of liability players are asked to sign before taking the pain-killer Toradol.

"We want to know who's providing the care to our players," Smith said of credentialing team medical staff. "For us, it would start with what we would get from the National Football League: the name, where the person went to school, who are they affiliated with, what their practice area is. We want to do a deeper dive. We want to know if there's been any complaints against the doctor for malpractice. We want to know if there's any judgments against them. We'd like to know detailed information about how the teams selected their doctors."

At an earlier press conference Thursday, the NFL general counsel Jeff said the league wants to have "an unaffiliated neurological consultant" at each game.

In reaction to the survey, Dr. John York, co-chairman of the San Francisco 49ers and chairman of the NFL Owners' Committee on Health and Safety, told NFL.com he had never seen a team doctor pick the needs of the team over the needs of a player.

"Trust maybe cascades through the relationship with the player," said Dr. Anthony Yates, the Pittsburgh Steelers' team physician and president of the NFL Physicians' Society. "All these physicians in this society that work for their individual teams can leave tomorrow and they'll lead a very financially rewarding life. They do what they do because they love it."
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