Embattled Chargers team doctor Chao steps down

David Chao, the San Diego Chargers’ embattled team doctor, has resigned his position with the club, according to a news release the team issued Thursday night.

Chao had been treating Chargers players since 1996, but in recent months his medical record became highly scrutinized, as his long record of patient complaints, medical malpractice charges and battle to retain his medical license was featured in the Washington Post, Deadspin, USA Today and elsewhere.

Last year, the NFL Players Association asked for the team to replace Chao, though team and league officials said the physician was cleared by an independent panel to continue his work with the club.

Chao cited health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family in stepping down. “I talked to the Chargers about my back problems in March and my desire to spend more time with my newborn twins and young daughter,” he said in the news release.

Chao has faced a series of complaints and malpractice suits, including four filed by former Chargers players. Citing “gross negligence” and “repeated acts of negligence,” the California State Medical Board has initiated proceedings to revoke or suspend his license.

Chao will be replaced as the Chargers head team physician by Christopher Wahl, the chief of sports medicine at the University of California-San Diego Health System.

Rick Maese is a sports features writer for The Washington Post.

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Mike Jones · June 13, 2013