Monday, November 12, 2018

"How did [Larry Nassar] deceive so many for so long?"

The Cut:

“They were one another’s best lives. It was like a cult, and I don’t say that in a bad way.” Trinea’s sisters excelled at volleyball and basketball; Dawn noted that there was less cultlike intimacy on these teams. When Trinea was selected for Geddert’s team at 9 years old, Dawn was required to attend a meeting. “One hundred percent of the girls will be injured,” she recalls a coach saying. “But we have a trainer right here.”

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According to Sands, Nassar maxed out two credit cards working his way up, cementing a reputation as someone who could identify an injury, concoct a plan, and get an athlete back on the floor. Liked and trusted and ever present, he knew the body and knew the sport. Whereas another doctor might ban an injured athlete from competing altogether, Nassar could tell her which tricks were still safe to perform.

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The prestige conferred on Nassar by his volunteer position at the Olympics, by both the parents of gymnasts and clinical sports medicine in general, is hard to overstate and hard, from the outside, to understand. That Nassar was an inexperienced physician who had just finished his residency in ’96 did not seem to matter, because in sports medicine the caliber of athlete one treats is taken to be correlated with curative power. Hospitals pay millions of dollars for the privilege of treating sports teams; UC–San Diego Health, for example, pays $1 million to treat the Padres.

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his best cover — the story that would get him out of police stations and back into exam rooms — was not in fact pseudoscientific bullshit. As his career progressed, he began to develop a research interest in the musculature of the pelvis: the sacrotuberous ligament in particular.

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Like many women and many parents of female athletes, Kristen knew of treatments that involve vaginal penetration; Chloe’s chiropractor had mentioned something.

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MSU Title IX investigator Kristine Moore launched her own investigation. She interviewed three osteopathic physicians and one athletic trainer. All four found Nassar’s conduct to be medically appropriate. All of them worked for MSU and knew Nassar personally. Dr. William Strampel, the dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU, instructed Nassar to have a chaperone in the room and avoid skin-to-skin contact, though he never enforced these new rules and Nassar would not follow them. Strampel has since been arrested and charged with, among other things, sexually harassing and groping female medical students.