Bengals, NFL Promote Diversity in Sports Medicine
MSM fourth-year medical student Alex Williams is among the students taking part in the second year of the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative
By Katie Kapusta, Spectrum News 1 Ohio
CINCINNATI — For the second year, the NFL is hosting medical students across the league to promote and increase diversity in the sports medicine field. For the Cincinnati Bengals, their student is wrapping up her month-long rotation and is making the most of this opportunity.
It’s a job many only dream of but for fourth-year medical student Alex Williams, she’s getting a taste of what it’s like being on the Bengals medical team.
“Yeah, I’m like, ‘I’m right here!’” Williams said of her experience. “Like, it’s amazing.”
During her month-long rotation, Williams shadows team physicians, trainers, and other medical staff as they show her the ropes.
“It’s such a great experience,” Williams said. “Much more than I expected, what I could have asked for. Everyone that I interacted with has been amazing from players, all the staff, the doctors.”
The NFL’s Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative started last year in an effort to increase the number of students interested in the sports medicine field, hoping to bring more diversity to NFL medical staffs in the future. Bengals team physician Dr. Bret Betz said this program is invaluable.
“This is really a unique experience, especially for a fourth-year medical student,” Dr. Betz said. “To get exposure like this to a professional organization and to get exposure to team physicians. A lot of people don’t get the inside view of this, so it will help prepare her for what she wants to do in her career.”
Williams will graduate this spring from Morehouse School of Medicine in her home state of Georgia and eventually hopes to go into family medicine before entering the sports medicine world.
Her dream job? Becoming an NFL team physician.
“This experience is so invaluable and priceless,” Williams said. “Like words cannot, like I don’t have the words to express how amazing it is for different organizations across the country to open up their doors for medical students.”
Williams said the fact that the NFL is not only helping students get their start but also focusing on diversity is huge.
“I’ve even had comments since my time here saying like, ‘It’s so great to see another one of us in this position, so great that you have that opportunity, like, keep doing what you’re doing,’” she said. “And things like that really propel me forward, especially when things get hard, it’s like, we’re needed.”
As she wraps up her time with the Bengals, she knows this will lead her to a promising future as a doctor.
“This is where I was meant to be,” she said. “This opportunity was kind of destined, or ordained, for me.”