College sports doctors under new scrutiny amid scandals

From the Associated Press and posted by our media partner at WOOD TV:

ASSOCIATED PRESS - Allegations of sexual abuse carried out over decades by team physicians at Michigan State and Ohio State are sending ripples through university athletics departments, with some schools exploring whether more oversight is needed for figures in such powerful positions.

The scandals involving former Michigan State team doctor Larry Nassar, who was also a physician for USA Gymnastics, and Richard Strauss, a former Ohio State doctor, reveal how the trust and intimacy granted to team physicians can also provide cover for sexual predators.

"It's almost this god figure that people don't want to question," said Dani Moffit, who leads a master's program in athletic training at Idaho State University and researches sexual harassment in college sports. "They are thought to be these people who are not going to make mistakes."

Groups that represent team doctors say it's hardly the only profession shaken by sex scandals, and they largely blame the recent cases on a couple bad seeds. Still, the fallout has left some doctors and colleges scrutinizing their practices.

Some are ramping up the use of exam chaperones — medical staff who are brought into the room to monitor the doctor's work. Purdue University says it's crafting a new policy requiring chaperones for team doctors, even if students don't request one. Michigan State updated a similar policy last year.

Physicians, too, are increasingly bringing in chaperones for their own protection, said Dr. Chad Asplund, president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. In his work at Georgia Southern University, Asplund said, he has become more diligent about calling for a chaperone any time he examines a female athlete or asks a patient to remove clothing.

"It's safety for the patient and safety for me," Asplund said. "I think people are becoming a lot more protected and a lot more cautious about doing the right thing."

Click for more on the story courtesy of the Associated Press.

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