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Team Doctors Under Pressure

A wacky malpractice award has everyone scrambling for cover. Former Eagles safety Chris Maragos won a $43.5 million jury lawsuit. The claim is that doctors had missed diagnosing a torn meniscus in 2017, while performing surgery to repair a torn PCL, which forced the 36-year-old Maragos to retire from the NFL.

Doesn’t taking care of a team make me a team physician?

In a June 2023 updated position statement, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) outlines, among other things, that desired qualifications for team physicians, including fellowship training in sports medicine and certification in sports medicine from the American Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). What is unclear is where the foot-and-ankle surgeon fits in as team physician under this position statement.

Maybe I don't really want to be a famous team doc after all

As part of the settlement, the court ordered the operating surgeon to pay $29.2 million and Rothman Orthopaedic Institute to pay $14.3 million.

According to Maragos attorney, Dion G. Rassias, “This case and this jury may have changed the course of history by now forcing these team doctors and trainers to stop worrying about when a player might return to play and start thinking about the next 50 years of a player’s life.”

Note: the average NFL career lasts 3.3 years and the average retirement age is 27.

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