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Documents show a close relationship between Dr. Anderson and U-M Athletic Department 

March 10, 2020 | UMich Sexual Abuse

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Dr. Robert Anderson and the athletic department were tightly intertwined, according to information from archive research at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library.

Documents show that in November 1968, a few months after Don Canham became the Athletic Director, Anderson recommended to Canham that all athletes receive a compulsory preseason physical examination with Anderson. Dr. Anderson was also concerned that athletes would not receive special treatment from other medical staff unless the athletes came to see him. Mandatory physicals became routine by 1980, and many of the lawsuits mention the mandatory preseason physicals with Dr. Anderson as a requirement to play on the various athletic teams.

What Dr. Anderson’s victims state

During these required doctor visits, victims have shared their stories of having unnecessary rectal and testicular exams. Other documents show critical reviews of his medical practice.

Researchers found 1994-1995 Student-Athlete exit interview documents. Within those interviews, 39 athletes from 17 sports offered a glimpse into Dr. Anderson’s medical experience. One student described Dr. Anderson as “a little senile, diagnosis wrong, never confident with his conclusions.” Males, in particular, gave low scores to the overall quality of physicians (28% excellent) and level of professionalism (56%). One unnamed athlete preferred “self-treatment rather than seeing Dr. Anderson again.”

The Detroit Free Press found no documents that showed whether Don Canham or Bo Schembechler knew about Dr. Anderson’s sexual misconduct allegations. Bentley Historical Library acknowledges that the library does not contain every letter or document on record.

Where to turn for closure

For victims, they are still searching for answers from U-M even if Anderson, Canham, and Schembechler are deceased. Many are turning to law firms such as ours for legal representation and ensuring that future students do not suffer from the same U-M inaction that led to Dr. Anderson having access to students for more than three decades.