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Former Team Doctor Sues Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The Penn State football program is in the spotlight once again.

It's not for its stellar performance on the field, but for what one doctor alleges happened off the field during his time with the Nittany Lions.

Dr. Scott Lynch is a former Penn State team doctor and director of athletic medicine.

The lawsuit filed by Dr. Lynch claims that head coach James Franklin attempted to "influence and interfere with his medical management and return to play decisions related to student-athletes."

Lynch claims that after he reported Coach Franklin to university officials, he was later fired.

Dr. Lynch's lawsuit comes just six months after he was removed as a team doctor and just days before the first Penn State football game of the season.

"From a coaching perspective, their job functions on how well their team functions. And there are many cogs in that wheel, and if a cog or two start dropping out, I could imagine that would be extremely stressful," Dr. Catherine O'Neil, Medical Director for Bucknell University.

Dr. O'Neil and has overseen the school's athletic trainers for the last six years. While college sports are very competitive, as a medical professional, she says it is crucial to follow protocol with an injury.

"Medical professionals are the only professionals, only people who are going to be able to look at an athlete and know whether they are really truly able to perform their sport, or if it's going to be dangerous," explained Dr. O'Neil.

One student we spoke with at Penn State's Hazelton campus agreed students should be the focus of the program.

"Players are the priority, and they're what make the team, maybe the doctor is right in this situation," said Steven Santiago.

Penn State released this statement to Newswatch 16 saying in part:

"While we reject Dr. Lynch's claims and will vigorously defend our program and its representatives, we remain grateful to him for his five years as director of athletic medicine for intercollegiate athletics and for his continued association with Penn State Health."

We reached out to Dr. Lynch's attorneys but did not hear back.

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