Deontological Theory Of Ethics In Sports

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Imagine yourself on the sidelines of The Peach Bowl as you watch your team in the final quarter of the game. The score is 28-24 with the lead going to the opposing team. The fans are screaming and your adrenaline is high. On the current play, you see the starting quarterback take a hard hit straight to his head. He walks off the field and the head coach points him in your direction. You are the team physician. Upon examination you determine he has a severe concussion and is unfit to return to play. You know that another hit on top of his current concussion could lead to a very serious brain injury. You tell the player and the head coach this information but they are both adamant that he is okay and that he needs to get back on the field. If …show more content…

Deontology is defined as an ethical theory that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a series of rules, rather than based on the consequences of the action. Case in point, the physician who cleared the quarterback to play thought more about the consequences of his decision (the team winning) than what was in the best interest of the player (his duty as a physician). He was clearly in the wrong and in my opinion, he made an unethical decision. According to the International Federation of Sports Medicine ethics code, the team physician has the “responsibility […] to determine whether the injured athletes should continue training or participate in competition”. This is a fairly vague statement that can be interpreted in a few different ways. First, to whom should the physician feel responsible? The patient should always be the first entity a physician thinks about when making return-to-play decisions, but are there others who the physician may feel they owe a responsibility to? Would the wants of those individuals influence their final decision? In a survey asking team physicians who they felt a sense of responsibility to (they were allowed more than one choice), 100% of the respondents said they had a responsibility to the injured player, 72% to a coach, 55% to team management, 44% to other team members, 38% to the sports …show more content…

The player was informed of the potential effects of going back into the game and if he still wanted to play he had an autonomous right to do so. Autonomy can be defined as the “personal rule of the self that is free from both controlling interferences by others and from personal limitations that prevent meaningful choice.” In most cases, the patient is given a diagnosis, a prognosis, and a plan. It is ultimately up to that person to decide whether or not they want to continue with the plan or take another course of action. In the case of the quarterback, was he able to make a decision that was in his best interest? I would argue that he was not. After sustaining a serious concussion, his judgment may have been different as compared to his non-concussed self. Even then, the opposition could bring up the topic of competence as it is related to autonomy. Autonomy is not exactly the same as “competence” since an incompetent person might still function “autonomously”. Good point, opponent. In looking at the practice of sports medicine, you have to realize that not all things translate as they would in a normal office setting. There have been studies with football players who reflected upon their experiences with concussions that played through the game. There was a former NFL football player who was quoted saying “I wasn’t going to let a simple concussion slow me down. So I screwed with

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