Truth about Former Penn State Doctor’s Lawsuit against Head Coach James Franklin

First reported by PennLive’s Matt Miller, Penn State Football Coach James Franklin pressured me to clear injured players to play, ousted team doctor claims.

Today, former Orthopedic Physician for the Penn State football team and Director of Athletic Medicine for the university, Dr. Scott Lynch, sued the Penn State University, AD Sandy Barbour, Associate AD Charmale Green, Head Coach James Franklin, Penn State Health, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and Kevin Black MD for $50,000. He is claiming his rights as a whistleblower were violated.

Although PennLive and others would like you to believe this story is about Head Coach James Franklin, of the ten counts listed in the lawsuit, only one pertains to Head Coach James Franklin (p.29-31).

The lawsuit claims that James Franklin “created a culture and climate which, at minimum, obstructed full compliance with…standards and rules implemented to safeguard the medical management of student-athletes.” (52. p. 14) and that “James Franklin attempted [on multiple occasions] to interfere with the plaintiff’s autonomous authority to determine medical management and return-to-play decisions related to student athletes.” (53. p.14) Dr. Lynch goes on to claim he refused to relent to James Franklin’s interference and reported it to his employer Kevin Black, Penn State’s Athletic Integrity Officer, Mr. Robert Boland, Athletic Director, Sandy Barbour, and Senior Associate Athletic Director, Charmale Green. (54, 55, 56, 57, 58. p. 15)

However, nowhere in the lawsuit does it provide specific players, conversations, or instances to how James Franklin interfered with Dr. Lynch’s medical management of student-athletes, or how Franklin created a culture which obstructed full compliance with standards and rules.

In fact, Mrs. Simmons, mother of current defensive end, Shane Simmons, provided a social media testimony claiming the opposite. Please read:

Shane Simmons has had a tough time at Penn State with injuries. If anybody would know whether or not James Franklin cares about his players health, Shane’s family would. Furthermore, think back, can you recall anytime it felt like a player was rushed back onto the field? In fact, I would claim that Franklin has always been more cautious than reckless about when injured players should return.

So what is the reasoning for this lawsuit? Well, surely it isn’t about the money. $50,000 is nothing for Penn State or Dr. Lynch. I am sure a couple orthopedic surgeries would pay Dr. Lynch even more than $50,000.

The recent firing of Dr. Lynch and the re-hiring of Dr. Sebastianelli, who was the orthopedist for the team for 20 years prior to Lynch, was due to location. Sebastianelli was replaced by Lynch in early 2013 and if you recall, there was quite an uproar on why Penn State would hire Dr. Lynch when he would be in Hershey not State College. That is the same reason Penn State officials fired Lynch in March, which he claims is false and that it was actually conspiracy to cover up wrongdoing. The question is, if Penn State fired Dr. Lynch because of his location in Hershey, why was he ever hired in 2013 and why wouldn’t he have been terminated sooner?

Please follow along as we learn more and we promise to only provide facts as we learn them instead of the typical clickbait you may see floating around.

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