Former Philadelphia Eagles captain Chris Maragos has been awarded $43.5 million in a lawsuit against his doctors over a career-ending knee injury.
The jury at the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas found that orthopedic surgeon James Bradley and Rothman Orthopaedics were negligent in the medical malpractice case, causing harm to two-time Super Bowl-winning safety and forcing him to end his NFL career prematurely.
Bradley was found to be 67% negligent ($29.2 million) and Rothman Orthopaedics 33% ($14.3 million), according to court documents.
“This case and this jury may have changed the course of history by now forcing these team doctors and trainers to stop worrying about when a player might return to play and start thinking about the next 50 years of a player’s life,” Maragos’ lawyer, Dion G. Rassias, said in a statement.
The case centered around a meniscus tear that Maragos’ representatives said Bradley and Rothman Orthopaedics failed to treat and the decision to advance his rehabilitation from injury, which caused further damage to his knee.
The 31-year-old suffered the injury during a game against the Carolina Panthers on October 12, 2017, which was later diagnosed as a torn right knee posterior cruciate ligament.
Bradley performed the surgery on Maragos’ knee and his treatment and recovery was also overseen by Rothman Orthopaedics, but Maragos’ representatives said his rehabilitation was advanced too soon despite an MRI in 2018 showing he was still suffering from a partial tear.
This, they said, let to the “premature end” of his NFL career.
“On Sunday, my team played in the Super Bowl, and I could only watch and wonder whether I could have been out there with them had I received proper medical care,” Maragos said in a statement.
“While I live in constant pain and will never get back on the field, I hope this decision sends a message to teams’ medical staffs that players are people, not just contracts.”
Among the witnesses to testify on behalf of Maragos during the two-week trial were his former Eagles teammates Nick Foles, Trey Burton and Jordan Hicks.
Bradley’s lawyer, John C. Conti, called the ruling “a poorly grounded decision.”
“This lawsuit involved orthopedic sports medicine at the highest professional level,” Conti told CNN in a statement. “Yet the sole expert witness for plaintiff – and thus the basis for the verdict – was a trauma surgeon.
“It would seem to be the height of folly to change NFL practices on such a poorly grounded decision.”
CNN has contacted representatives for Rothman Orthopaedics but is yet to receive a response.