The National Football League is launching a program to ask medical students from historically Black colleges and universities to work with NFL teams’ medical staffs this season. The goal is to assist diversify the pipeline of Black doctors who’re enthusiastic about careers in sports medicine.
As a part of their coursework, third- and fourth-year medical students do one-month clinical rotations focused on different specialties, often throughout the teaching hospitals affiliated with each medical school. The NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative will allow students enthusiastic about sports medicine to do a rotation at an NFL club, working alongside physicians caring for skilled athletes.
“What we’re really seeking to do is to have the scholars understand all the elements to enter the care of the NFL athlete, and likewise connect with mentors and advisors who they will stay in contact with as their careers develop,” said Dr. Allen Sills, a neurosurgeon and the NFL’s chief medical officer.
This system will accept 16 medical students enthusiastic about either primary care sports medicine or orthopedic surgery from 4 HBCUs: Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Howard University College of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine and Meharry Medical College.
Students shall be placed with one in every of eight participating NFL clubs: Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Latest York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans and Washington Commanders.
Participants will learn tips on how to provide care to players “each in practice situations, game day situations, within the training room, possibly in physicians’ offices, and even in surgery as well,” Sills said. “So it’s a comprehensive overview of the sports medicine team of an expert team.”