National Rugby League Sports Doctors Leaving Clubs After ASADA Doping Investigation
The National Rugby League "has been hit by an exodus of sports doctors," led by Sydney Roosters medico John Orchard, amid a raft of concerns raised during a year in which the code has been turned inside out by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation into alleged doping, according to Chris Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The long-serving Orchard is set to quit his post at the premiers, "still incensed that personal trainer Sean Carolan was introduced to the club in the pre-season behind his back." At least four other NRL doctors are also resigning, "with some disturbed by the infiltration of sports scientists into clubs" and others also fearing the potential for players to follow in the footsteps of NFL players in the U.S. by suing over past concussions.The departure of Orchard "will be the highest-profile resignation." Newcastle doctors Peter McGeoch and Neil Halpin "are leaving their positions at the Knights, Paul Bloomfield is quitting St. George Illawarra only a year after his move from Manly, and Donald Kuah is exiting Wests Tigers." NRL Chief Medical Officer Ron Muratore "is also understood to be frustrated at being effectively sidelined by the code's administrators during the eight-month ASADA investigation." Kuah and Bloomfield have told Fairfax Media they are resigning for family and personal reasons, while McGeoch is citing a desire to reduce his traveling commitments, having spent 22 years full-time with the Knights. There "is an undertone of serious trepidation among the game's community of sports doctors." Chief among the concerns is the proliferation into clubs of sports scientists "and so-called supplements and nutritional experts outside their control and the treatment dished out to doctors David Givney and Bruce Reid at Cronulla" and Australian Football League side Essendon, respectively (SMH, 10/14).