The head athletic trainer for the Minnesota Vikings and his assistant have been fined and disciplined by regulators for starting their new jobs early last year without being licensed by the state, officials announced Thursday.
Uriah Myrie was fined $1,000 by the state Board of Medical Practice for working as head athletic trainer without a license when he joined the NFL team in March 2022.
His assistant, Connor Whicker, also was not licensed when he was hired by the Vikings in May 2022. The board fined Whicker $500.
The credentialing shortfall came to regulators' attention in June 2022 when Myrie and Whicker both applied for their licenses after already working for the Vikings, the agency said in orders that were filed on March 11 and included the trainers agreeing with the findings of the board's Licensure Committee.
Myrie and Whicker met with the committee in November to review the licensing requirements and the proposed orders.
"The Committee views Applicant's unlicensed practice as inappropriate [and] Applicant agrees that the conduct ... constitutes a reasonable basis in law and fact to justify the disciplinary action," the board wrote in separate orders for each trainer.
Along with the fines, Myrie and Whicker were given conditional licenses on March 13 to continue their duties with the Vikings. The board said they can petition to make their licenses unconditional once the fines are paid and when they submit their home and workplace addresses to the agency.
Vikings team spokesman Jeff Anderson issued a statement Thursday:
"These are simply procedural issues related to a state licensing process and have no bearing on job performance or level of care, nor do these stipulations with the state in any way limit or impact our athletic trainers' ability to care for our players. We are confident both individuals will receive their unconditional licenses in the near future."
Board Executive Director Elizabeth Huntley told the Star Tribune that the agency's decades-long oversight of athletic trainers is vital to the "mission of public protection by assuring that the people under its regulation are competent, ethical practitioners with the necessary knowledge and skills appropriate to their title and role. That mission is upheld, in part, through the Board's licensing process."
The team added that Myrie and Whicker remained in their jobs between the time of their hiring and receiving their conditional licenses.
Myrie joined the Vikings after spending the previous five seasons with the Houston Texans as an assistant athletic trainer. Whicker was a summer intern under Myrie with the Texans during the 2020-21 season.