Last updated: May 15. 2013 12:07AM - 2443 Views
By - dlevarse@timesleader.com

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Penn State is firing back at Sports Illustrated just hours before a story reportedly critical of the medical care for the Nittany Lions football team hits the newsstands.
In the issue set to be available today, Sports Illustrated teases the story on its cover, asking “Do Athletics Still Have Too Much Power at Penn State?”
The story was not available for review by press time.
Penn State said that the story will assert that the quality of medical care available to the football team in 2013 will be worse than in 2012. In a statement, the university called that notion “erroneous” and said the article “sensationalizes in order to insinuate lower standards.”
In February, the school announced that long-time team physician Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, a 1975 Valley View High School graduate, would be replaced by Dr. Scott Lynch and Dr. Peter Seidenberg at the recommendation of Lions football coach Bill O'Brien.
Sebastianelli remains employed by Penn State as the doctor in charge of the medical program for all Penn State sports.
“From a coverage standpoint, we have exactly the same level of medical care as we had previously,” O'Brien said in a statement. “The same surgeons as last year are available to players who would need that level of attention.
“Nothing about our level or quality of athlete care has changed. These young men mean a great deal to me and our staff. They give their all to Penn State. I will always recommend what I feel is best for our student-athletes in every area of the football program.”
With the personnel changes, Seidenberg will serve as team physician and Lynch will be the team's orthopedic consultant.
Seidenberg will attend practices and Lynch will be in attendance at games and will meet weekly with Penn State's doctors and players to oversee medical care.
Emergency needs can be handled by three State College-based surgeons, including Sebastianelli, at Mount Nittany Medical Center near Beaver Stadium.
Penn State spokesman Jeff Nelson said via phone Tuesday night that the athletic department sent out requests to “peer institutions” in February to compare the structure and level of medical care of those schools with their own.
Nelson said he saw feedback from Alabama, Ohio State, LSU and Illinois, and that Penn State “is considered to be equal or above the care provided by those schools” for their football teams.
“The present medical care model is very consistent with peer institutions in the Big Ten and elsewhere,” Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner said in a statement. “The present system offers appropriate and exceptional medical care for our student-athletes.
“It's terribly unfortunate some want to make baseless accusations. We refuse to engage in a such a conversation.”
Penn State's response also made reference to “questions and rumors” about head trainer Tim Bream, who was brought aboard by O'Brien last year.
According to Penn State, Bream was “investigated by an outside law firm in January. The trainer and supervisory physicians were interviewed. The legal team's report concluded there was no credible or substantial evidence to support the allegations or rumors, and there was no wrongdoing or violation of any professional standards.”

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