Sports medicine and ethics.
Physicians working in the world of competitive sports face unique ethical challenges, many of which center around conflicts of interest. Team-employed physicians have obligations to act in the club's best interest while caring for the individual athlete. As such, they must balance issues like protecting versus sharing health information, as well as issues regarding autonomous informed consent versus paternalistic decision making in determining whether an athlete may compete safely. Moreover, the physician has to deal with an athlete's decisions about performance enhancement and return to play, pursuit of which may not be in the athlete's long-term best interests but may benefit the athlete and team in the short term. These difficult tasks are complicated by the lack of evidence-based standards in a field influenced by the lure of financial gains for multiple parties involved. In this article, we review ethical issues in sports medicine with specific attention paid to American professional football.
Testoni, D; Hornik, CP; Smith, PB; Benjamin, DK; McKinney, RE
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