Nick DiCello


This note discusses the role of the team physician and the unique conflicts he or she faces when providing medical care to athletes. In particular, the note describes the pressure team doctors experience from team management, the coaching staff, and the players themselves. Next, the note discusses the types of claims professional athletes have brought against their doctors and team employers and how the terms of collective bargaining agreements (CBA) and workers' compensation laws create obstacles to their recovery. The note will explore the need for a specialized legal standard within the practice of sports medicine and identify the disincentive for sports physicians to act professionally in the absence of a heightened standard of care. The final section of the note offers solutions to address the conflicts team physicians face. Recommendations include establishing a more definite and predictable legal standard of care for application to sports medicine practitioners, creating an alternative application of state workers' compensation laws to the professional sports workplace, and amending the CBAs currently governing major professional sports.