Justin Fields hasn’t received a medical diagnosis after being shot at Sugar Bowl
The history of medical malpractice in college and professional football is long, deep and really, really ugly. The NFL put Dr. Elliott Pellman, a rheumatologist who received his medical training in Guadalajara and often faked his credentials, in charge of its mild traumatic brain 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 games and minimize the long-term medical effects of gambling. It could be argued that Pellman was able to survive in the industry for so long despite his obvious defects; I would counter that 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 sportsthe NCAA coined the term “student-athlete” to avoid paying workers’ compensation to injured players. Denying “amateur” players their rights as employees gives the NCAA a way to pay them, but it also gives this particular cabal a clear path to a lack of accountability regarding how injuries are handled.
We could cite thousands of examples in the NFL or NCAA, but let’s go with what happened to Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Friday night. Fields had the match of his life, but the results could have been tragic. That brutal hit by Clemson linebacker James Skalski got Skalski sent off for targeting, but it also apparently allowed Fields to return to the game without any sort of diagnosis from Ohio State medical staff.
Justin Fields on the team doctors:
“They really didn’t tell me anything. I took a picture or two and ran over there. But it’s pretty much my whole right that hurts. It’s messed up. And kinda , my hip. But they didn’t really give me a diagnosis at all.”
—Erick Smith (@ericksmith) January 2, 2021
That is problematic. Young athletes blindly trust doctors and team coaches. When a player is injured, the least he can do is inform him of what is happening and risk continuing to play before shooting him.
Sidenote: I was that player. pic.twitter.com/2e98pQSZce
— George Wrightster III (@georgewrighster) January 2, 2021
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 Athletic Department should be called to the mat to explain how and why this happened.
Why did Fields come back into the game anyway? That’s who he is, and that’s what he does. The same can be said of any hyper-competitive athlete.
“My ribs killed me pretty much the whole game. What pushed me through was the love for my brothers. I would do anything for these guys. – Justin Fields.
—James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 2, 2021
That’s why doctors are responsible for telling players where they stand medically and the inherent risks. Denying Fields what he needs to make an informed decision about his own health is an inexcusable violation, and it should never happen, as often as it does.