According to a report Wednesday, the medical records of a large portion of the NFL's players were stolen from the car of a Washington Redskins trainer in April.
Per Barry Petchesky of Deadspin, the NFL reportedly informed players that someone stole a backpack that contained electronic and paper medical records from the past 13 years of the NFL Scouting Combine.
Petchesky and Deadspin acquired an email sent from NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith to the league's player representatives on May 27, and the following is a partial look at Smith's message:
It has come to our attention that the backpack belonging to a Washington Redskins' athletic trainer, was stolen from a car following a break-in. We have been advised that the backpack contained a password protected, but unencrypted, laptop that had copies of the medical exam results for NFL Combine attendees from 2004 until the present, as well as certain Redskins' player records. We have also been advised that the backpack contained a zip drive and certain hard copy records of NFL Combine medical examinations as well as portions of current Redskins' player medical records. It is our understanding that our Electronic Monitoring System prevented the downloading of any player medical records held by the team from the new EMR system.
The NFLPA has consulted with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding this matter. The NFLPA also continues to be briefed by the NFL on how they intend to deal with both the breach by a club employee, the violation of NFL and NFLPA rules regarding the storage of personal data, and what the NFL intends to do with respect to notifying those who may be affected. We will keep you apprised of what we hear from the team and League.
The NFL also issued a statement regarding the theft, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network:
According to Petchesky, it is unknown if the thief was aware of what they had stolen or if they were able to bypass the password protection attached to the electronic records. Petchesky also speculated that litigation is possible since storing medical information on an unencrypted laptop is in violation of the law.
News of the medical record theft comes just a few months after New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul sued ESPN and NFL insider Adam Schefter for tweeting medical records regarding his finger amputation following a fireworks accident last year.
The potential now exists for nearly every NFL player to have their medical records publicized, and if JPP's actions are any indication, such a scenario could lead to lawsuits galore.
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