George Anderson, the longtime athletic trainer for the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders who developed a state of the art knee brace, passed away on March 29, 2012 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to published reports. He was 82 and was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.
Anderson, top, devised an innovative knee brace, named The Anderson Knee Stabilizer, that became the standard for football players, from the high school level all the way to the National Football League.
Anderson, a Vallejo, Calif. native, was the Raiders’ original athletic trainer, beginning in 1960, three years before future managing general partner Al Davis was hired as head coach and general manager. Anderson worked for the Raiders for 35 years.
“He was a great help to me as well as my teammates during my playing career with the Raiders,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said in a statement. “With George, we all knew that we were in excellent hands when it came to athletic training and treatment.”
In 1977, after Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler suffered a knee injury, Anderson reportedly developed a double-hinged brace designed to protect the joint from further damage by distributing the impact of hits to the leg above and below the knee itself.
In 1986, Anderson was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame.
In 1994, the Raiders' last season in Los Angeles, Dr. Robert Huizenga, a former team physician, wrote a behind-the-scenes book that detailed questionable practices by the Raiders front office and coaching staff. The book revealed the practice of Raiders management pressuring team doctors to clear players to play before they were healed.
Davis reportedly asked Anderson to take part in a TV interview and refute the accusations in Huizenga’s “You’re OK, It’s Just a Bruise,” but he declined and subsequently was forced to retire. Anderson reportedly was not comfortable speaking out against Huizenga, who had been treating Anderson’s wife, Marcy, for Hodgkin’s disease.
“Nobody gave themselves to the Raiders more than my dad,” his daughter, Kristi Anderson Ornstein told The Los Angeles Times. “He was so dedicated to Al and the Raiders, and it just devastated him.”
According to the Times, Anderson said in a 1996 interview with Sports Illustrated: “The word ‘loyalty’ is bandied about much too casually in the Raiders’ organization. For Al Davis, loyalty means, ‘You be loyal to me. I’ll think about being loyal to you.’“
Anderson is survived by daughters Kristi and Leslie Gant; a son Brad; and five grandchildren. Anderson’s wife, Marcy, died in 1996.
George Anderson on the Raiders sideline,
a familiar sight for 35 years.
Los Angeles Times