Penn State responds to critical Sports Illustrated article

Penn State Football coach Bill O'Brien confirmed his plans to remain at the university for the 2013-14 season at a news conference in State College, Pa. on Monday, January 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
Penn State Football coach Bill O'Brien confirmed his plans to remain at the university for the 2013-14 season at a news conference in State College, Pa. on Monday, January 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
Posted: May 16, 2013

Penn State moved quickly Tuesday night to respond to a Sports Illustrated story that appeared to paint an unflattering portrait of the university's medical operation as it applies to football.

The article is mentioned on the cover of this week's issue of the magazine with the headline "Do Athletics Still Have Too Much Power at Penn State?" It is expected to be released online Wednesday morning.

A statement issued by Penn State said: "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."

Football coach Bill O'Brien drew some criticism in February when he replaced Wayne Sebastianelli, the head physician for the team for 21 years. Physician Peter Seidenberg took his place, with Scott Lynch being named orthopedic consultant. Sebastianelli continues as the director of athletic medicine overseeing all sports medical services.

"From a coverage standpoint, we have exactly the same level of medical care as we had previously," O'Brien said in a statement. "The same surgeons as last year are available to players who would need that level of attention. Nothing about our level or quality of athlete care has changed."

Athletic director Dave Joyner called Penn State's medical care model "very consistent with peer institutions in the Big Ten and elsewhere" and called some statements in the SI story "baseless accusations."

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