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USATSI

A former Penn State team doctor alleges that coach James Franklin attempted to interfere with medical decisions involving players on the team, according to testimony obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer

Dr. Pete Seidenberg, the primary care doctor for Penn State’s football team in 2014, claimed during a civil trial against Franklin and the school that he was pushed by Franklin and athletic director Sandy Barbour to medically disqualify a player who attempted suicide in order to free up a scholarship. The unidentified player was in short-term psychiatric care. 

“I perceived that as his attempt to influence medical decisions,” Seidenberg said. 

Seidenberg added that he declined to give into the pressure from Franklin and Barbour. He included other instances in which he thought Franklin overstepped in trying to get his way on medical decisions, involving both himself and former director of athletic medicine Dr. Scott Lynch. The lawsuit was filed by Lynch, who alleges his unwillingness to go along with Franklin’s desires played a key role in his termination in March 2019. 

Seidenberg no longer works at Penn State and practices medicine outside of Pennsylvania. 

Lynch filed the lawsuit months after his dismissal and revised the complaint in 2021. Franklin himself was removed as a defendant in 2020 due to statute of limitations, so the lawsuit is directed at Penn State’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Dr. Kevin Black, who gave his dismissal. 

Franklin has been at Penn State since 2014 with an 88-39 overall record. In 2023, he signed a 10-year guaranteed contract that will pay him more than $70 million. 

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