The NFL Players Association said Friday that it would not pursue any sanctions against the medical staff, on the sidelines, during last weekend’s game that produced the significant injury to Robert Griffin III’s right knee. In addition to the medical team, that is a permanent part of the Washington Redskin’s organization, highly recognized orthopedic surgeon, James Andrews, MD was also present.
RG III underwent a right knee reconstruction earlier this week, following the Washington Redskin’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. Redskin’s head coach, Mike Shanahan, came under significant scrutiny when Dr. Andrews refuted the statement, by Shanahan, that Andrews had given Griffin III medical clearance to play. Though the NFLPA reviewed the medical care delivered on the sideline to RG III, the NFL Player’s Union had no authority to investigate the coaching decisions, made by Shanahan and his staff.
To add insult to injury, the reporting practices of the Redskin’s organization has now come into question, after it was disclosed yesterday that, in addition to a full repair of his LCL and ACL, Griffin III had also undergone a meniscal repair, that wasn’t originally reported. Given current HIPA guidelines, all medical information regarding RG III is technically confidential. However, when his medical history influences everything from an organization’s franchise quarterback position to the common man’s Fantasy League, it is popular opinion that we all have the right to full disclosure.
What prompted the lack of full transparency, of the extent of Griffin’s procedure, we are not likely to know. Whether this was an oversight or a calculated decision, to withhold the entirety of the procedure, is likely to be questioned for some time to come. However, there is little doubt that the more damage, and thus need for repair, that was found in GR III’s knee, the longer it will take him to recover and rehabilitate. Given the multiple ligament and meniscal involvement, Griffin is likely to be out well into next season’s regular game schedule.
As long as there are athletes, there will be sports-related injuries. The injury to RG III brings to light two complicated issues; a patient’s right to privacy and a coach’s responsibility to his individual players and his team. In the face of a medical issue, where does the coach pass the gauntlet to the person that has the patient’s best interest at heart, the doctor?