One year after the National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) formally requested a review of San Diego Chargers team doctor David Chao due to what the NFLPA saw as improper care of its players, Dr. Chao has been cleared of any wrongdoing. The panel found no basis for the NFLPA's complaint. Via the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Three independent doctors have unanimously ruled the Chargers' doctor is "totally exonerated" from a player union protest he is unfit to serve in his current role, a club source said Saturday.
In addition to the formal review requested in February of 2012, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith was less than subtle in remarks made two weeks ago in New Orleans regarding Chao and his position as Chargers' team doctor:
It seems to me that the players of the National Football League deserve to have a doctor who's not been found liable of malpractice.
Smith was referring to several incidents in Chao's past that led to questioning of the doctor's ability to perform his duties as head medical professional in a NFL locker room. In 2006, Chao was involved in a medical fraud suit, stemming from the mishandling of a patient in 2003. The doctor lost the suit, and was made to pay the plaintiff $7.5 million in damages. As recently as 2012, California's medical board sought to revoke Chao's license due to gross negligence on multiple occasions.
Despite Smith's comments on January 31, several Chargers players came to the defense of Dr. Chao, including center Nick Hardwick and quarterback Philip Rivers. Hardwick commented that he completely trusts Chao and Rivers said he had no complaints about the care provided.
The NFLPA has yet to comment on the independent panel's ruling.