Former NFL tight end Desmond Clark rails against doctors employed by teams

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Desmond Clark spent 12 seasons playing football in the NFL for the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. Now retired from football, Clark is working in the financial sector as an advisor. However, he has a sore spot when it comes to reflecting on his career in football.

In an interview with Mark Carman on the On The Mark podcast, Clark took issue with team doctors employed by NFL teams and believes that there in incentive for those doctors not to have players’ best interests at heart.

“You gotta separate the people and the [NFL] business,” Clark said when asked if the league cares about players. “It’s so difficult and convoluted for retired players to get help. [The NFL] provides doctors and those doctors are chosen to deny you. I don’t think it is setup for the players to get anywhere.”

Clark relayed a story from his playing career. He was having stomach problems during a game and hadn’t been able to eat due to the pain. The day after the game, he went to the hospital and was diagnosed with ulcers.

Clark had been taking Toradol injections on game days and pills before practices to deal with the everyday pain football causes and the ulcers were a result.

“I was never told that could happen,” Clark said. “It was, ‘here you go, go out there and get ’em’.”

The NFL has certainly made strides when in comes to player health and safety. Changing rules to reduce collisions involving the head and neck, mandating players with concussions are unable to play and reducing offseason workloads and eliminating two-a-day practices are some of the measures that have been enacted to help reduce injuries. However, having doctors employed by teams is also going to present an appearance of conflict of interest when it comes to the health of players. The reality of the matter will vary from doctor to doctor, team to team.

Clark appeared in 162 games over his 12 seasons in the NFL, catching 323 passes for 3,591 yards and 27 touchdowns.

12 responses to “Former NFL tight end Desmond Clark rails against doctors employed by teams

  1. Dude, I love Dez. I have never heard of a guy more effectively capitalize on local celebrity. His whole thing was white collar commission-based service work where most of the market is pretty fungible to potential clients, i.e. markets where you can make a lot of money if you can get clients and where being a key part of taking the Bears to the Super Bowl and having a ton of Urlacher anecdotes is more than enough to make you really stand out from your competition. First he did real estate, now he’s a financial advisor, and I bet he just slays with older finance Bros who absolutely would hire him just to hang out with him. Also, based on the simple genius of these career moves, I bet he’s great as a financial advisor.

    I know, way off topic. Obviously he’s right about this, it’s a blatant conflict of interest where people’s health amd livelihoods are at stake. But I really just wanted to hijack this to make sure you all understand Desmond Clark is a genius and clearly a bit of a hero of mine.

  2. Oh …okay. These players all somewhat College educated, now on top of not knowing that repeated bashing of the head over & over again would have some sort of long term effects now want us to believe that they did not know taking narcotics, high dose pain injections/pills would lead to stomach issues? Advil & Tylenol one gives you ulcers the other destroys the liver and you can get it in vending machines…..This nonsense needs to stop. They are paid a kings ransom for what they do and everything you do has consequences ……They know what they signed up for.

  3. Lawyers have to address these conflict of interest issues every day. The first question is “who is the client?” Then it is important that all sides know and understand who the lawyer is representing in the deal. There certainly is nothing preventing any player from consulting their own doctor or doctors.. If it’s not in the collective bargaining agreement, it certain should be.

  4. When ever you have a “company Doctor”, the company is the patient and the injured or sick are the symptoms. It does matter what industry it is, they take care of who ever pays them.

  5. well you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the doctors are there for the best interest of the team and not that of the player…

  6. SparkyGump says:

    July 13, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Not surprised one bit. When there’s a profit motive in healthcare, the patient always loses.
    I saw a Big Pharma commercial yesterday for a Meningitis B vaccine. lol The disease is SUPER RARE! Disgusting!

  7. So let’s see… he was constantly in pain, but he never figured out that if he just took pills and kept playing it could be bad for his health.

    Is that about the gist of it?

    Ummkay, let me run right out and put my life’s savings in this financial advisor’s hands, he’s clearly a gifted intellectual.

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