Diverse Medical Students from HBCUs on NFL Teams' Training Camp Staffs
NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative at NFL Training Camps has expanded to include 31 diverse medical students.
By Kyle T. Mosley, SI.com
In partnership with the NFL Physicians Society and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society, the NFL has revealed the list of medical students who will participate in the second year of the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative. The initiative aims to expand and diversify the pool of students interested in pursuing careers in sports medicine, eventually contributing to a more diverse medical staff in NFL clubs. The students' clinical rotations will begin as NFL training camps open next week for the 2023 season.
The NFL pilot program will expand from 14 in 2022 to include 31 diverse medical students from 19 schools in 2023. The goal is to provide the students with clinical rotations in primary care sports medicine and orthopedic surgery with the NFL medical staffs.
The participating students are minorities from medical schools at four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other medical schools local to NFL clubs.
“The NFL and our club medical staffs are thrilled to welcome these impressive medical students from around the country to the league this season,” said NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills. “The league-wide expansion of the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative this season demonstrates strong interest in sports medicine from diverse and under-represented medical students and is indicative of our clubs’ commitment to diversity in all facets of the game.”
As part of their one-month rotations, students will have the opportunity to witness and take part in the treatment of NFL players. They will work alongside orthopedic team physicians, primary care team physicians, and athletic trainers, gaining valuable medical knowledge and exposure to patient care in sports medicine. Students will also learn about the guidelines for returning players to the field and how to treat them on the field. By the end of the rotation, students will have a comprehensive understanding of the different aspects of care given to NFL players from the perspectives of orthopedics, primary care sports medicine, and athletic training.
“We are incredibly excited to participate in the second year of such an impactful and important diversity program,” said NFLPS President and San Francisco 49ers head team physician Timothy McAdams, MD. “Mentorship is a critical component of recruiting students into our field, so we’re thrilled to immerse more talented medical students with diverse backgrounds into the NFL clubs’ medical communities. We’re all looking forward to watching this program continue to grow and impact more medical students in years to come.”
“What an exciting time to launch the second year of the Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative,” said Reggie Scott, PFATS Past President and Los Angeles Rams Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance. “The league-wide expansion is just a testament to the commitment of diversity initiatives in the health and safety space in the NFL. We look forward to the continued growth with this program to create opportunities and experiences for so many diverse medical students.”
As the program continues to grow, the league aims to further expand the pipeline initiative in the coming years to include additional disciplines, spanning additional roles in the NFL's player care "Team Behind the Team" including physician assistants, certified athletic trainers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nutritionists and behavioral health clinicians.
The Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative is part of the league's broader commitment to ensure that staff and leaders in the league office and at NFL clubs reflect the racial and gender makeup of America. Among NFL club medical staffs, the initiative builds on existing efforts to recruit and hire diverse medical staff when positions become available across all roles, and to increase diversity across NFL medical committees.
Students participating in the program this year expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity and optimism about the future of diversity in sports medicine:
“Words cannot express how grateful I am to have been selected to participate in the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative. I am looking forward to being a part of the sports medicine team on a national stage and learning about sports-related injury management protocols from expert leaders in the NFL. Working with athletes at this level is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and I look forward to the positive impact that this program will have in my future career as a physician.” – Temitope Elutilo-Ayoola, Morehouse School of Medicine, Arizona Cardinals
“When I made the decision to pursue a career in health care, I knew that Sports Medicine was an ideal fit for my interests. I often envisioned what working with athletes on a daily basis would look like, but I had never had an opportunity to see first-hand what this line of work entails. That was until I heard about the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative program. When I first learned about this program through communication from my institution, I was ecstatic to say the least. This was the exact type of experience that I was looking for. I never thought that an opportunity like this would be available to me this early in my medical training. I am grateful to be a part of the class of 2023 and I am hopeful that through this experience, I will be able to gain valuable insight into what a career in Sports Medicine encompasses.” – Brandon Chiedo, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta Falcons
“Sports have always been an integral part of my life, so it is a dream getting the chance to work with athletes of the highest level. I am extremely grateful to the NFL for opening its doors to medical students and providing this once in a lifetime opportunity.” – Alexandria Williams, Morehouse School of Medicine, Cincinnati Bengals
“I am overjoyed to be a part of this experience and excited to see what medicine is like behind the scenes of the NFL. This is truly a unique opportunity that I am sure to never forget.” – Adam Munoz, Morehouse School of Medicine, Indianapolis Colts
“This opportunity would not have been possible without God - with Him, I'm thankful. Looking forward to going back to my athletic roots in my hometown!” – Valdemar Wany, Morehouse School of Medicine, New York Giants
“I am truly grateful and excited for the opportunity to work with the talented physicians, medical staff, and football players associated with the Tampa Bay Bucs. This is a unique opportunity that I never could have expected without this pipeline directive. I hope more programs like this become available to inspire and encourage under-represented youths to become involved in the field of medicine.” – Jamie Maignan, Morehouse School of Medicine, Tampa Bay Buccaneers