4 HBCU medical schools join NFL diversity initiative

May 23, 2022, 8:06 PM | Updated: May 24, 2022, 8:07 am
FILE - Dr. Allen Sills, Chief Medical Officer for the NFL, speaks to reporters during the NFL footb...

FILE - Dr. Allen Sills, Chief Medical Officer for the NFL, speaks to reporters during the NFL football owners meeting in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. Students from four Historically Black College and University medical schools will be selected for clinical rotations with NFL team medical staffs this year. “On the whole, a day would consist of a mixture of time with the athletic training staff, observing treatments and assessments and rehabilitation care,” said Sills. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Students from four Historically Black College and University medical schools will be selected for clinical rotations with NFL team medical staffs this year.

The joint program with the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and Professional Football Athletic Trainer Society (PFATS) aims to diversify the pipeline in sports medicine, including at NFL clubs. It is open to medical students interested in primary care sports medicine and/or orthopedic surgery from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles; Howard University College of Medicine in Washington; Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta; and Meharry Medical College in Nashville.

“We always have students interested in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, and this is an additional avenue,” said Dr. Digna Forbes, the interim dean of the school of medicine at Meharry. “The more opportunities we have for these sub specialties, it will increase diversity in those. This is important.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase our medical students, they have been going all over for these sub specialties, but with the NFL being so high profile, and to diversify the (medical) positions in the NFL, it would be great that the doctors treating them are also diverse.”

A study that examines diversity of the medical student population shows Black medical students comprise only 7.3% of the total in this country. That figure has risen less than 1% over the past 40 years and is far lower than the 13.4% Black population in the United States. The NFL has nearly 70% Black players.

A total of 16 total students will participate in the inaugural program, two students each at eight of the participating NFL clubs: the Falcons, Bengals, Chargers, Rams, Giants, 49ers, Titans and Commanders.

In 2023, the program will expand to recruit students from additional academic institutions and medical disciplines. They will be placed with medical staffs at more teams. The expansion next year will broaden to disciplines beyond primary care sports medicine and orthopedic surgery.

This season, though, students will work directly with and under the supervision of the orthopedic team physicians, primary care team physicians and athletic trainers to gain basic medical knowledge and exposure to patient care in sports medicine. They will learn return-to-play guidelines and on-field treatments for players. The opportunity to be on the sideline for observation during games is being considered.

“On the whole, a day would consist of a mixture of time with the athletic training staff, observing treatments and assessments and rehabilitation care,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. “They would also spend time with team physicians and learn how they diagnose and treat injury rehab. Perhaps they would attend a surgical procedure that involves an athlete. And then they would be attending a team practice.

“All of those elements allow them to appreciate what the entire athletic training staff does, how the medical team works together.”

Sills notes that diversity is an issue throughout the entire realm of medicine. NFLPS President Timothy McAdams concurs.

“We have significant work to do to ensure that the NFLPS membership more closely mirrors the player population we treat every day,” said McAdams, also the San Francisco 49ers’ head physician. “It begins here, by broadening the pipeline and encouraging medical students from diverse backgrounds to consider the possibilities of a career in sports medicine.”

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bump & Stacy Show

AP

Houston Astros' Jake Meyers (6) watches as Jeremy Pena, left, and Yordan Alvarez (44) fall to the g...
Associated Press

LEADING OFF: Yankees-Astros play 1-game series in Houston

A look at what’s happening around the majors today: ___ GOING MY WAY? The Yankees and Astros will meet in a one-game series between AL division leaders at Minute Maid Park — it’s a makeup of a matchup postponed by the lockout. Both teams were on New York-to-Houston flights after wins Wednesday afternoon in the […]
24 hours ago
Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout hits an RBI double against the Chicago White Sox during the first in...
Associated Press

Ohtani Ks 11, extends scoreless streak in 4-1 win over WSox

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Whether Shohei Ohtani is unleashing his 101 mph fastball or dispensing his large array of breaking balls, the Angels’ two-way ace has overpowered every opponent during his shutout surge through June. Ohtani still had to dig deep into his nearly bottomless bag of pitches to beat the White Sox. The right-hander […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Bird sets WNBA career wins record as Storm beat Aces 88-78

SEATTLE (AP) — Sue Bird became the WNBA’s leader in career wins with 324 on Wednesday night as the Seattle Storm beat the Las Vegas Aces 88-78. Bird, who has announced this will be her final season, passed former Minnesota star Lindsay Whalen. Jewell Loyd led Seattle (12-7) with 24 points, and Breanna Stewart had […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Mercury beat Fever for 7th straight time, 99-78

PHOENIX (AP) — Skylar Diggins-Smith had 17 points and seven assists, Sophie Cunningham added 14 points and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Indiana Fever 99-78 on Wednesday night. Phoenix (9-12) beat Indiana for a seventh straight time, including an 83-71 victory on Monday. Shey Peddy and Diamond DeShields each added 13 points for Phoenix, which […]
24 hours ago
Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog holds up the Stanley Cup as the NHL hockey team was ho...
Associated Press

Dodgers hit 3 homers, knock off nemesis Rockies 8-4

DENVER (AP) — Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and Cody Bellinger homered, and the Los Angeles Dodgers took advantage of Germán Márquez’s struggles and early injury exit to beat the Colorado Rockies 8-4 on Wednesday night. Trea Turner added a two-run double and Julio Urías pitched into the sixth inning as the Dodgers avoided a three-game […]
24 hours ago
Chicago Cubs' Willson Contreras celebrates while running the bases after hitting a two-run home run...
Associated Press

Contreras homers, Morel also goes deep as Cubs beat Reds 8-3

CHICAGO (AP) — Christopher Morel unleashed a laser from center field toward the plate. In a flash, the Cubs let loose. Chicago catcher Willson Contreras pointed toward the dugout and let out a roar. Screaming pitcher Justin Steele pounded his glove several times. Morel’s rocket throw to cut down Tommy Pham trying to score on […]
24 hours ago
4 HBCU medical schools join NFL diversity initiative