Sunday, April 23, 2017

Injured reserve(d)

For, it appears, hardly anyone at Indiana University.

Pretty damaging stuff here about the IU athletic medical staff and the culture of denying, soft-pedaling and stigmatizing injuries that seems to have been more than just the province of deposed football coach Kevin Wilson's program. Apparently, there's a lot of that going around in B-town.

Or so says rower Katlin Beck, who says she futzed around with three IU athletc medical personnel -- including the director of athletic medicine, Andy Hipskind -- before finally going outside the system to deal with chronic back pain. Beck claims the three docs in Bloomington all gave wildly divergent diagnoses, including muscular issues and a hamstring problem. None of them, Beck says, suggested she stop rowing altogether.

That didn't happen until she finally went off the rez to a spine specialist in Indianapolis, who told her categorically she shouldn't be rowing. That's because he discovered her upper body was basically connected to her lower body only by scar tissue. Which, yeah, seems like a pretty good reason to get the hell out of the boat.

I'm no doctor (I don't even play one on TV). But if all this is true, I do have what I consider legitimate questions here.

Like, how do you examine someone who's got those kind of spinal issues and conclude it's a hamstring problem?

Or a muscular issue, as Hipskind diagnosed?

And how do you square those two diagnoses with the one given by the third IU doctor, who Beck claims told her she had three bulging discs, two spinal fractures and bone deterioration?

And how do you diagnose that but recommend only that Beck spend the summer in a back brace before returning to the rowing team in the fall?

Unless, you know, your job is not to protect the welfare of the athletes, but simply to keep them on the field, court or in the boat.

That may be unfair. But -- again, if this is all true -- what other conclusions can you draw, unless it's that these people are simply incompetent?

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