A Philadelphia jury on Monday ordered doctors to pay former Eagles special team captain Chris Maragos $43.5 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit related to treating a career-ending injury.
Maragos sued Dr. James Bradley and the Rothman Orthopedics Institute claim they ignored meniscus damage while surgically repairing and rehabilitating a posterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee sustained in the 2017 season. Bradley performed the surgery and oversaw Maragos’ rehab along with Rothman Orthopedics.
Bradley is a renowned Pittsburgh surgeon who was previously the Steelers team surgeon and has operated on numerous athletes, including former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. He is a member of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine Hall of Fame. Rothman’s doctors oversee the Eagles’ orthopedic care.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, jurors deliberated less than three hours Monday after a two-week trial that included testimonies from former Eagles players Trey Burton, Jordan Hicks and Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles. The jury ordered Bradley to pay approximately $29.2 million and Rothman $14.3 million.
According to the Inquirer, Maragos’ lawyers argued that his doctors’ alleged negligence led to an early end to his career and ongoing knee problems. They claimed doctors allowed Maragos to walk during his rehab, leading to “further complications and ultimately the premature end” of his career.
Maragos, 36, testified that he has had two consecutive surgeries on his knee and is now considering having a knee replacement.
“I’m the only dad who doesn’t play flag football out there,” Maragos said, according to the Inquirer.
In a statement following the verdict, Maragos’ attorney, Dion G. Rassias, implied that Bradley and Rothman prioritized Maragos’ expedient return to the field over his long-term health.
“This case and this jury may have changed the course of history by now forcing these team doctors and coaches to stop worrying about when a player could play again and start thinking about the next 50 years in a player’s life player to think about,” Rassias said, per the questioner.
Bradley stood by arguing that if Maragos needed meniscus surgery he would have done it, but based on his medical judgment, Maragos did not perform meniscus surgery. His lawyers argued that surgery would have done more harm than good.
“I’m a surgeon. I’ll do that,” he said, according to the investigator. “If I had to operate on it, I would operate on it immediately.”
Bradley and Rothman’s attorneys argued that months after his PCL surgery, Maragos had damaged his meniscus in a separate weightlifting injury, the Inquirer reported. Attorney Melissa L. Mazur argued that there was nothing doctors could have done to prolong Maragos’ career at the age of 31.
“Unfortunately, he just had one really, really bad injury that he couldn’t come back from,” she said, according to the Inquirer.
The jury disagreed.
The ruling came a day after Philadelphia lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. According to the Inquirer, Bradley’s attorney, John C. Conti, denied that the atmosphere surrounding the game had a “huge impact” on the jury during a Philadelphia trial.
“It’s a terribly strong tide to swim against,” he said.
Maragos played eight seasons in the NFL as a defensive back and on special teams for the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Eagles. He spent his last four seasons in Philadelphia, including the 2017 season when the Eagles won the Super Bowl. Maragos suffered his PCL tear in Week 6 of this season against the Carolina Panthers. He no longer played football.