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{ Media writes on the NFLPA's State of the Players address, focusing on health and safety. }
Author: NFLPA Communications Posted: 2/1/2013

NFLPA requests Chargers doctor with malpractice history removed
Matt Wilhalme, The LA Times

The NFL Players Assn. has formally requested the San Diego Chargers find a new doctor after the union revealed the team's current physician, Dr. David Chao, has been found liable of medical malpractice.

"[Chao] has a clear track record of misconduct," NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth said. "It's unfortunate for the guys who play there. It's something that we can't control, but we can definitely put pressure to improve. We're trying now. I don't know that it's appropriate to talk about all the steps we're taking, but the first step is that we're making people aware."

A Chargers spokesperson told U-T San Diego the team was still gathering information about the NFLPA’s allegations.

The union also shared the results of an internal player survey, conducted by the NFLPA, in which 78% of players said they don't trust their team's doctors.

NFLPA voices safety complaints
Associated Press

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and union president Domonique Foxworth used a Super Bowl news conference to lay out a series of complaints about safety issues Thursday.

Smith mentioned three amendments the NFLPA wants to make to the new CBA, including the appointment of "a neutral chief safety officer who can hear appeals about acceptable levels of medical care."

He mentioned the use of replacement officials, the NFL's desire for an 18-game season, the increased slate of Thursday night games and the New Orleans Saints bounty investigation as examples of items that have driven a wedge between the players and the league.

"The league, their No. 1 focus -- at least they say their No. 1 focus -- is health and safety. And we say our No. 1 focus is health and safety," Foxworth said. "How come we have such a hard time moving the ball on some health and safety issues?"

The NFL is facing concussion-related lawsuits from thousands of former players. In a series of interviews about head injuries with The Associated Press in December 2011, 31 of 44 players said they wanted the league to have independent neurologists at games.

The union has been pressing the NFL to put independent neurological consultants on sidelines during games to help diagnose and treat concussions, something league general counsel Jeff Pash announced at a news conference earlier Thursday he expects to begin next season.

NFLPA teams with Harvard for health study, rips NFL
Jim Corbett, USA Today

The NFL Players Association announced a 10-year, $100 million partnership grant Thursday with Harvard University to research and treat player injuries and brain and heart illnesses after nearly 80% of players from 32 teams said in a union survey they don't trust team medical staffs.

Distrust stems in part from four teams that required players to sign waivers before receiving injections of the painkiller Toradol.

"I cannot think of a more repugnant practice than a doctor forcing a patient to waive liability in order to receive medical care," union executive director DeMaurice Smith said.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports the union met with league representatives for several hours Jan. 25. "There was no mention of this survey, and the union hasn't told us about it or shown it to us," he wrote.

Smith said part of the initiative includes having independent concussion experts on sidelines next season and that the credentials of all team medical staff and team trainers be studied to "see if there's any complaints about malpractice."

In a separate but related announcement Thursday, the NFL said it planned to add unaffiliated neurological consultants to its sideline medical staffs during games next season to bolster efforts to diagnose and treat concussions.

The question remains on how much say the consultant will have about whether a player will be removed from a game because of a suspected concussion.

NFLPA could challenge Commissioner Roger Goodell's power
Albert Breer, NFL.com

NFL Players Association officials described the New Orleans Saints bountygate matter that played out over the last year, and the resulting procedural problems, as something they took "personally" during their news conference Thursday.

Union President Domonique Foxworth elaborated, saying he's getting a strong push for players to challenge NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's power over discipline in the wake of the Saints saga. "Our players are intent on making moves in that direction, and any avenue that it requires us to make that move, we're willing to take because it's not my responsibility to decide the direction of this organization. It's my responsibility to hear that direction and lead in that direction. And that's where they want to go."

The NFLPA is currently pushing for a neutral arbitrator to oversee the entire drug policy, which include some areas of conduct  detrimental          

Batch earns NFLPA award for community service
Alan Robinson, TRIB Live Sports

The NFL Players Association will donate $100,000 to Batch's Best of the Batch Foundation in recognition of the award, which has been given each year since 1967 and has been won by four Steelers.

Previous Steelers winners were Andy Russell, 1973; Rocky Bleier, 1975; and Franco Harris, 1982

Batch thanked the Steelers organization and owners Dan and Art Rooney II for supporting him in his charitable work.

Batch began the foundation after his teenage sister, Danyl Settles, was shot to death while caught in Homestead gang warfare crossfire in 1996.

“At that moment, I said if I was ever in a position to give back, I would,” Batch said.

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