Pat Carroll was one of the first journalists to write about medical issues in sports. When Ervin (Magic) Johnson announced he was HIV positive, Pat pitched her editor at The Sporting News to include a reported article on HIV to educate readers. Her public health knowledge drove her reporting to provide key information for the target audience of the newspaper, young men, who were at greatest risk for infection. Pat’s work was the only reporting that addressed the public health consequences of HIV infection in all the sporting newspapers and magazines that covered Johnson’s announcement. The newspaper received a special letter of commendation from the National Basketball Association’s commissioner, David Stern, for its uniquely comprehensive coverage.
In addition, Pat received numerous telephone calls from readers who sought her advice on how they could get tested. She believes it was one of the most important pieces she has written in a long career. “If one reader received an early diagnosis because of my work, I have done my job,” she said. “That is the power of journalism.”
She also reported on Bo Jackson’s career-ending avascular necrosis of the hip and Lawrence Taylor’s ruptured Achilles tendon.
She was a columnist for the New York Daily News in its weekly health section. The success of excerpts run from her book, What Nurses Know led to the column.