The Eagles’ medical staff is sure taking a lot of heat following the news that Carson Wentz has a back fracture. There are some conflicting reports out there about exactly when the fracture was discovered, and who knew what.
This Wentz situation has prompted one former Eagles player, who has previously been critical of the Eagles’ medical staff, to speak out. Here’s what former Philadelphia linebacker and currently ESPN analyst Emmanuel Acho had to say on Twitter:
4/28/17, I told the world the #Eagles had a bad medical staff. Ppl thought i was bitter.— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) December 13, 2018
299 days later they fired their head trainer, just 17 days after winning the Super Bowl.
593 days later after a plethora of inexcusably lengthy injuries to star players, people believe me. pic.twitter.com/ljXDH2o6za
“Just saw Carson Wentz is hurt, so it’s time for me to keep it real on the Eagles’ medical staff.
First things first, have to establish I am not bitter. If I never would’ve got released several years ago, I wouldn’t be where I am, one of the youngest national analysts on ESPN.
Back to the main point, though: why did I say they were suspect? I knew a guy when I was playing. He had a torn ACL. He got told he had a ‘tight hip flexor.’ I broke my thumb, completely fractured. I was told that that pop was ‘probably just scar tissue.’ Again, these are just a couple stories. I’m not going to put too many names to it because that’s not the focal point.
But here’s what you got to remember: the training staff works for the team, not the player. So they have the team’s best interest in mind. You, as a fantasy football owner, or a fantasy football player, if you see a player hurt, you probably rush them out there so you can win your fantasy football league. Now imagine you are the owner of a billion dollar corporation.
Anyway, that’s just my two cents, but yes, in my opinion, they’re suspect, and it’s now been proven why.”
Several, “this is a new medical staff“ replies. The entire medical staff is not new. Some protocol is very similar & the main focal point, teams have their best interest in mind. It’s likely awful many places, I can only speak on what I know.— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) December 13, 2018
Lol... I played there for 3 years. I watch the games, I look on the sideline. I know all them dudes by name. Some are great guys.— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) December 13, 2018
Acho isn’t the only former Eagles player to criticize the team’s medical staff. Earlier this year in March, current Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews said he “had two really bad diagnoses” from Philadelphia’s staff before he was traded to the Buffalo Bills.
The staff that Acho and Matthews criticized isn’t the exact one that’s still employed by the team. Philadelphia did make a number of changes to their medical staff this offseason. But apparently there are some holdovers.
As Acho notes, the potential issue with misdiagnoses isn’t just about the people on staff. It’s about the system. The team staff is incentivized to act in the best interest of the team, not the player. This conflict of interest isn’t specific to the Eagles, of course, because the same applies for the 31 NFL teams.
And yet, it’s the Eagles who have former players publicly criticizing their staff. And it’s the Eagles who’ve had a number of perplexing injury situations this year, with Wentz just being the latest. And it’s the Eagles who have the fourth most cap space on injured reserve.
It seems like the criticism isn’t totally unwarranted.
UPDATE: Some more former Eagles players have joined the fray.
2013 Tore PCL. Forced back In to mess it up again. Missed rest of year. 2014, 4 MRIs on my knee in 5 months. Couldn’t squat 135 pounds In that 5 month span but “nothing was wrong with my knee”. Got a microfracture. 2015 Out 9 months. Cleared for 5 days. Another major procedure https://t.co/tlpVN9d57T— Earl Wolff (@Ewolff28) December 14, 2018
When I tore my ACL with the Eagles in 2013 they told me I had a tight IT band and to foam roll it out. I went and got a second opinion and the doctor confirmed that my ACL was torn 90 percent. https://t.co/X3JPGU1MBd— Phillip Hunt (@Igotem76) December 14, 2018
Best advice I got after blowing out my back was from a veteran who will remain unnamed. He told me the training staff would try to push me through a full practice so the team could cut me without reprocussions and that if I felt ANYTHING to stop and not let them send me back out. https://t.co/Zdx2L6qEtW— Julian Vandervelde (@BatMandervelde) December 13, 2018