Maybe I'm missing something here, but Rick [don't call me an alum anymore] Telander now has his panties in a wad over the missing Wheeler medical records, drawing parallels with Watergate [sorry G. Gordon] etc.-- da Coach
Lets review a few of the things that were revealed in the press regarding the physical performed by Dr. Mark Gardner just prior to Rashidi Wheeler's death that was apparently recorded in those records.
According to press reports back when the records were first reported missing, Wheeler revealed to Dr. Gardner that he was taking Ultimate Orange Punch - a food supplement containing an herbal form of ephedra. He was asked if he had informed his trainers about taking the supplement and he effectively dodged the question. He was told to tell his coaches immediately.
When Dr. Gardner later asked the trainers if Wheeler had told them about taking the supplement, they were astonished because they did not know he was taking the product that contained the banned substance.
Now much is being made about what could be contained in these records. To which I'll ask, "Have you ever had a physical?"
I've watched preseason sports physicals. The typical sports physical consists of a record of height and weight, blood pressure, pulse count, the doctor will listen to your heart and lungs, check for hernia, ask if your old injuries have healed, ask if you use drugs or alcohol [even if you're 16]. They usually don't do a blood test or urine test.
Because he had an existing medical condition, Asthma, I'm sure Dr. Gardner would have questioned Rashidi about his medication - was he taking it and reactions - and based on his observations, would have pronounced him either fit or unfit to participate in football for the coming year. Every indication is that he cleared Wheeler to play football.
Which leads me to the why I don't think there's some "evil plot" behind all this.
The only reason Northwestern would have had to make the records disappear would be if they contained a recommendation that Rashidi Wheeler not play football and the Coaches determined he had to play, even if his life was in danger!
Seriously 1, had Dr. Gardner not cleared Wheeler, his reaction to the trainers when he learned that Rashidi Wheeler had died during the workout would have been much different and he'd be a witness for the Will family.
Seriously 2, In his 4 years, has the play of any player been truly more important to Randy Walker than their health?
No, the guy who had the most to gain short term by having his medical records "disappear" unfortunately was Rashidi Wheeler, and that was only if there was a recommendation that he not play football.
Rashidi Wheeler's death was a sad event that changed football forever. We coaches have always watched our kids, but now we watch them even more closely for signs of distress, maybe even more than their parents. But now its time we parents stop automatically trying to blame the big institutions for things that go wrong.
Remember Rashidi Wheeler was the asthmatic who wanted the Pro career, who was taking the "banned" substance, ephedrine, that has killed at least 4 other athletes since his untimely death. He was the guy who didn't report taking the stuff to his trainers [who would have told him to stop]. He was the guy who didn't grab for his inhaler like he was taught when he first started having trouble breathing.
And no, I don't think he took the records either. I still think they're in an envelope marked "Important" in the back of a file drawer somewhere.
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