The NFL in collaboration with the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainer Society (PFATS) announced their roster of medical students who will participate in the inaugural season of the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative.
The initiative aims to increase and diversify the pipeline of students interested in pursuing careers in sports medicine and, over time, help to diversify NFL club medical staff.
The 14 students selected by their medical schools to participate in the program will complete clinical rotations with NFL club medical staffs this fall.
According to the NFL, participating students hail from the country’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) medical schools, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Howard University College of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Meharry Medical College.
Their clinical rotations will focus on primary care sports medicine and/or orthopedic surgery. They will each be embedded within the medical staff of one of eight NFL clubs: the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans and Washington Commanders.
“I am thrilled to welcome these outstanding medical students to our clubs this fall,” said NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills.
“This program will be an opportunity not only for these students to learn from NFL club medical staff, but also to develop mentoring relationships that will help them throughout their careers.
“As we embark on the first season of this initiative, I am hopeful that our efforts to diversify the pipeline of students interested in sports medicine will have long-lasting positive effects on the medical care athletes receive well beyond NFL players.”
The students selected to participate in the program’s inaugural season include:
Kadarius Burgess, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles Rams; Regan Burgess, Howard University College of Medicine, Cincinnati Bengals; Alexandra Cancio-Bello, Howard University College of Medicine, New York Giants.
Also on the roster are Omolayo Dada, Morehouse School of Medicine, San Francisco 49ers; Yomiyou Geleta, Meharry Medical College,Tennessee Titans; Paolo Gilleran, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta Falcons.
In addition Eddie Gontee, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta Falcons; and Kelsey Henderson, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee Titans.
Other HBCU medical students selected are Jason Moore, Howard University College of Medicine, Los Angeles Chargers; Justin Moore, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington Commanders; Andrew Nakla, Meharry Medical College, San Francisco 49ers;
Rounding out the first year participants are Felipe Ocampo, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles Rams; Jessica Smith, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington Commanders; and Kayla Thomas, Howard University College of Medicine, New York Giants.
The students’ one-month clinical rotations will begin as the 2022 NFL season kicks off in September. During their rotations, students will observe and participate in the care of NFL players. 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.
Students will become familiar with return-to-play guidelines and on-field treatment considerations for NFL players. Students also may attend home games and be present on the sideline for observation. By the end of the rotation, students will understand the basic elements of all facets of care provided to NFL players from an orthopedic, primary care sports medicine and athletic training perspective.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.