Penn State, Bill O'Brien Respond To Sports Illustrated Article

Mario Tama

An afternoon update

Lubrano Speaks: Trustee Anthony Lubrano is scared of the way medical care of the student-athletes is now being handled at Penn State in response to the Sports Illustrated article published today. In a move to a more NFL-style of player treatment, Lubrano says that players may be rushed onto the field quicker than they should be.

"Is that a risk we're willing to take?"

More on that in a bit.

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Penn State Responds: In a press release, Jeff Nelson, sports information director for the football team, released statistics of how other teams across college football deal with physicians and surgeons being available to student-athletes throughout the week. The SI article brought into question the fact that Scott Lynch, who replaced Wayne Sebastianelli as the team's orthopedic surgeon, would only be in State College on Wednesdays through the season.

Football Physician In-Season Coverage

Penn State

- Primary care physician attends all practices and games. On Sunday, examines every player whoplayed in the game previous day and any others in need of attention.

- Orthopedic physician attends at least one practice each week (Wed.) and all games. Available post-practice Monday, Tuesday and Thursday if necessary. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

Iowa

- Primary care physician is available to attend practice and see players post-practice Monday-Friday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

- Orthopedic physician is available post-practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

LSU

- Primary care physician available post-practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

- Orthopedic physician available post-practice Tuesday and Wednesday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

Michigan State

- Primary care physician is available to attend practice and see players post-practice Monday-Friday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

- Orthopedic physician is available post-practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

Northwestern

- Primary care physician is available to attend practice and see players post-practice Monday-Friday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

- Orthopedic physician is available post-practice once or twice a week. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

Nebraska

- Primary care physician is available to attend practice and see players post-practice Monday-Friday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

- Orthopedic physician is available post-practice Tuesday and Wednesday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

New statements were also put out from the university, Dr. Harold Paz and AD Dave Joyner:

Statement from Penn State on Sports Illustrated article:

To characterize the medical care Penn State provides our student-athletes as anything other than the highest quality is erroneous. Access to urgent and quality care for our athletes is no less than where it was at any point in the past 20 years. We provided Sports Illustrated with facts and data that demonstrate our commitment to our student athletes and how we compare to other peer institutions. Instead, the article sensationalizes in order to insinuate lower standards and largely ignores statements from the Dean of the College of Medicine.

Contrary to the reporter's assertions, Dr. Sebastianelli remains the doctor in charge of the University's entire medical program for intercollegiate athletics, including football. Further, there has been no change in the support provided by State College-based Penn State orthopedic surgeons, including Dr. Sebastianelli.

The article fundamentally distorts the facts. There has been no change in the model of medical care for our student athletes. The allegations on why the change in team physician was made is ludicrous. Worst of all, the article ignores the fact that Dr. Sebastianelli remains the doctor in charge of the University's entire medical program for intercollegiate athletics, including football. In addition, the university athletic trainer reported directly to Dr. Sebastianelli, who supervised the trainer's work. A review shows Penn State's medical coverage is on par with, or exceeds, peer institutions.

Dr. Harold Paz, senior vice president for Health Affairs, Chief Executive Officer, Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Dean of the College of Medicine:

The article suggests that the quality of care provided to Penn State student athletes has been jeopardized by a change in team physicians. It simply isn't the case. Drs. Seidenberg and Lynch, the physicians now responsible for the day-to-day care of Penn State football players are both experienced clinicians, fellowship-trained in Sports Medicine and committed to providing expert medical care to our students athletes.

Any suggestion that care is being compromised by the change in physician assignments is both unsubstantiated and incorrect.

The article further suggests that Dr. Sebastianelli is no longer playing a role in supporting the University's athletic teams. In fact, as Director of Athletic Medicine, Dr. Sebastianelli remains the doctor in charge of the University's entire medical program for intercollegiate athletics.

Dave Joyner, Director of Athletics:

As athletic director for Penn State my first priority is the welfare of our student-athletes. All decisions are, and have been, made with that first and foremost as the goal. Any changes that were made were done for, and only for, the benefit of the student-athletes, the football program, and for Penn State. Any characterization otherwise is appalling, offensive, preposterous and completely untrue. Change is never easy, but that won't prevent us from doing the right thing for our student-athletes.

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Bill O'Brien Gets Angry: The Penn State coach appeared on College Football Live and then held a conference call about an hour later to respond to the article. It wouldn't be wrong to say that O'Brien was perturbed that he had to come out and deal with the article in question. Here are a collection of tweets from the call:

Ben Jones was also kind enough to provide the Internet with audio of Bill O'Brien yelling a lot. Enjoy!

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Finally: A Sports Illustrated spokesperson spoke with Daily Collegian reporter Anna Orso and said that the story was objective and well-sourced and that they stand behind it 100 percent.


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