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Copyright (c) 2009 Trustees of Indiana University
Indiana Health Law Review

Note: An Athlete's Right to Privacy Regarding Sport-Related Injuries: HIPAA and the Creation of the Mysterious Injury


Indiana Health Law Review

6 Ind. Health L. Rev. 47


James Blake Hike*


I. Introduction

Coming off of back-to-back seasons in which he compiled over 1700 yards and tallied 17 or more touchdowns, Larry Johnson had high hopes for the 2007-2008 National Football League ("NFL") season. 1 After spending the Kansas City Chiefs' ("Chiefs") entire training camp negotiating a new contract, however, Johnson began the season with a slight hamstring injury and never seemed to get going. 2 In a November 4, 2008 game against the Green Bay Packers, Johnson limped off the field, putting no weight on his right leg. 3 From the moment Johnson left the field, announcers and fans began to speculate. The subsequent actions taken by Johnson and the Chiefs organization led to the creation of a mystery injury.

After Johnson limped off the field on November 4th, the Chiefs' organization failed initially to issue a formal statement disclosing any specifics about the injury. 4 Additionally, Johnson neglected to issue a statement as to the exact nature of his condition, noting only the severity of the initial swelling and the fact that the condition improved to where he could walk without a protective boot. 5 It is important to note that NFL organizations typically release information relating to on-field injuries. 6 When the Chiefs' president, Carl Peterson, finally issued a formal statement, the information he provided remained ambiguous. Peterson stated, "[i]f a patient doesn't want medical information out there, then (the doctor) is obligated, as we are, under the rules of HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and ...
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