HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Sunday, just minutes before their game vs. the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs kicked off, the Los Angeles Chargers lost their starting quarterback due to injury. Tyrod Taylor, the former Hampton High School star, was not in pain from an opposing player - but rather his own team doctor.
"It is a known complication, but it's not supposed to happen," Dr. David. J Chao, who spent 17 seasons as the Chargers head team physician, explained. "It's one of those one-percent things that we doctors always say, 'Oh my gosh, we better not do that."
Dr. Chao, known as Pro Football Doc to his nearly 170,000 followers on Twitter, was the first to report the details of Taylor's bizarre injury. Back on Monday, Dr. Chao carefully, but confidently, reported a Chargers team physician inadvertently punctured Taylor's lung while administering a pregame injection to numb the pain from Tyrod's broken rib. The blunder forced Taylor, a former standout at Virginia Tech, to take a ride in an ambulance rather than lead any drives as Los Angeles' starting quarterback in the team's home opener.
"The nerve which the injection was trying to block is actually behind and under the rib, so that makes it very close to the lung lining," Dr. Chao told News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler via Zoom Wednesday evening. "That's where you get the puncture from the needle, and that's where you get the slow air leak. Let me say this, though: it wasn't life or death. It certainly is very disconcerting and uncomfortable, though."
Wednesday, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn announced Taylor will also miss this week's game. While Tyrod is expected to be back to 100 percent in a couple weeks, how much long-term damage, if any at all, has been done between player and doctor?
"I would hope team doctors and players are developing relationships all along," Dr. Chao said. "And the doctor should be up-front in saying what happened and why and I'm sorry. So, if he developed a relationship and shoots him straight, I think it'll be okay."
But don't blame Tyrod if he waits a little longer before letting the doctor shoot him straight...into the ribs.