Four historically black medical colleges in the U.S. will supply eight NFL teams of students for monthly clinical rotations during the 2022 season as part of an initiative to increase the number of doctors and health professionals of black teams in the league.
The NFL’s Diversity in Sports Medicine initiative, announced Tuesday by the League, the NFL Physicians ’Association and the Professional Football Coaches Association, will begin with two students on the team. One student will be assigned to primary care medicine, the other – to orthopedic surgery. All first-year students of the program will come from Howard University Medical College, Morehouse Medical School, Mehari Medical College and Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.
The NFL plans to extend next year’s initiative to black students from all medical colleges and include all 32 teams, League Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills said in a conference call Tuesday.
Dr. Siles refers to a study published in October 2021 y Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine with 86 percent of doctors and 65 percent of sports coaches on NFL teams identifying themselves as white.
“As organizations, we have come together to say that this is an issue we want to address, that we want to be leaders and that we want to put together programs that can constructively address the climate change we see today,” he said. .
Dr Lisa Barkley, chair of the Department of Family Medicine and director of the residency program at Charles Drew University, spoke of the importance of “sports medicine providers looking like patients, athletes they serve, who can communicate and talk about some of the social influences on general health. “
She also said of the students: “It is important to see other providers who are similar to you, and to have such an impact is very important in this field of sports medicine, because in many ways it is an opportunity you have to embrace a team or play sports.”