Former Michigan Wrestler Alleges Physician Abuse | Athletic Business

Former Michigan Wrestler Alleges Physician Abuse

A former Olympic wrestler added to the testimony revealed this week that a University of Michigan doctor sexually assaulted Michigan students while serving as director of University Health Service and as a team physician.

Andy Hrovat, who competed for the U.S. in the 2008 Summer Olympics, told The Associated Press that Richard Anderson touched him inappropriately during medical exams at the school and said the physician’s reputation for such conduct was well known among his teammates. This comes on the heels of news earlier this week that a Michigan alum recounted Miller dropping his own pants during a medical exam and using the patient's hand to fondle himself.

Related: Physician Abuse Allegations Hit University of Michigan

Hrovat's encounters with Anderson, who retired in 2003 and died five years later, happened during the wrestler's freshman year in 1998.

“I would like to let people know that it’s okay to come out,” Hrovat said in an interview from his attorney’s office in Denver. “It’s okay to let your voice be heard.”

He is the first athlete to make public accusations against Anderson.

“I was warned about him from teammates, saying, ‘If anything happens and you go see the doctor, he’s going to inappropriately touch you, that’s just what Dr. A does,’” Hrovat recalled.

He added that describing the exam would be too uncomfortable. “To me, the mental part of it of having to go in there knowing that this doctor was going to touch you inappropriately is what sticks out most in my mind,” he said.

Hrovat said he did not tell then-Michigan wrestling coach Dale Bahr or anyone in athletic administration about Anderson’s conduct. “In my mind, he normalized what he was doing and made you think that was just a normal part of the procedure,” he told the AP. “So why would you tell somebody?”

Also on Thursday, university president Mark Schlissel apologized to "anyone who was harmed" by the late doctor after several former students said he molested them during medical exams at the school.

"The patient-physician relationship involves a solemn commitment and trust," Schlissel said. "The allegations are highly disturbing. On behalf of the university, I apologize to anyone who was harmed by Dr. Anderson."

The university announced Wednesday that it had launched an investigation into Anderson's conduct after five of his former patients alleged he sexually abused them during exams. As reported by ESPN via network's wire services, officials have acknowledged that some university employees were aware of accusations against the doctor prior to a 2018 complaint that led to a police investigation.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Thursday that, since the investigation was announced, 22 people have called a hotline to report on interactions with the onetime director of the University Health Service and team physician for the football team. Fitzgerald said he didn't have detailed information about the individual callers or what they described. He said some of the callers reported having no issues with Anderson, according to ESPN's report.

Non-athletes who allege abusive exams by Anderson say the physician seemed to prey upon people he suspected were gay, and thus less likely to report his actions. When alleged victims did file reports, they claim little was done in response.

John Manly, a lawyer for many of the hundreds of victims of now-imprisoned former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar, said Thursday that a half dozen people have called his California-based firm alleging abuse by Anderson -- mostly former football players and wrestlers. He said they were fearful of what could happen to their positions on teams or at the school if they reported what he did to them.

"My experience has been that's much more about liability protection than helping the victims," Manly said. "It's really important that one of America's greatest universities act like it and treat these people not as adversaries but as people that are injured and that deserve support. My fear is that's not happening."

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