Normally, when a team doctor steps down from his position, it doesn’t create many headlines. But when a controversial doctor like David Chao resigns, it can certainly create some news.
On Thursday, Chao notified the San Diego Chargers organization that he will step down as team doctor due to health reasons. He will remain with the team for the remainder of the offseason as a resource and help ensure a smooth transition to the next team doctor, Dr. Christopher Wahl.
Chao has been under fire for years in San Diego and for good reason. He has been sued multiple times for malpractice, was the subject of a DEA investigation, and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor for driving under the influence. The Medical Board of California was even trying to revoke his medical license.
It didn’t stop there. In February, the NFL Players Association requested that the NFL replace Chao, believing that a man who’s been found liable of malpractice so many times should not the lead man when it comes to preventing and rehabbing the injuries of professional athletes. Chao was exonerated from the NFLPA’s protest by a panel of independent doctors, but the NFLPA remained concerned.
Players, including Philip Rivers and Nick Hardwick spoke out in support of Chao in February, saying they both trust Chao’s medical care. However, a long list of injuries happened under Chao’s watch, including the mishandling of Kris Dielman’s concussion which led to a subsequent seizure and his eventual retirement. One may assume that it’s simply bad luck, but on the other hand, it may be no coincidence that the Chargers haven’t been able to stay healthy over the past few seasons.
There clearly has been no shortage of change for the Bolts this offseason. Hopefully, this change means less injuries and less medical mistreatment in the future.