A Look at NFL Medical Providers

Wow, what an entertaining Super Bowl! Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles!   The offensives for both participating teams were amazing!  The amount of yards and points scored in the game will be remembered for a long time.

As an athletic trainer I tend to look a little closer at another aspect of football, the medical care provided to the players.  Being able to appropriately evaluate and treat injuries over the course of such a fast-paced game can be tricky and the policies and procedures will continue to evolve.  It takes a team effort to provide appropriate and comprehensive medical care to players.  Here is a look at the medical professionals that are present during every NFL game:

Each sideline has:

  • 4 Athletic Trainers – Assess and treat player injuries in conjunction with team doctors
  • 2 Orthopedic Medical Doctors – Evaluate and treat players for injuries to the bones and joints
  • 2 Primary Care Physicians – Evaluate players for general medical conditions and concussions
  • 1 Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant – Evaluates players for possible head injuries and concussions
  • 1 Chiropractor – Provides back/spinal adjustments for players and treats muscular injuries

Each stadium has these additional members of the medical team present on gameday

  • 1 Dentist – Treats dental issues
  • 2 Independent Athletic Trainers – Notify on-field staff of possible injuries from the press box. The independent Athletic Trainer spotters can call a medical timeout to stop the game to have a player receive medical attention.
  • 1 Airway Management Physician – Provides emergency intubation to severely injured, non-breathing players
  • 2 EMTs/Paramedic Crew – Transport players to hospital in the event of serious injuries
  • 1 Radiology Technician – Takes x-rays of injured players at the stadium
  • 1 Ophthalmologist – Treats eye injuries
  • 1 Visiting Team Medical Liaison – Local emergency physician certified to practice medicine in the state where the game is being played. The VTML works with the team to provide access to care, medication and first-rate medical facilities.

Although the Minnesota Vikings came up short in the NFC title game last month, their medical team was honored with a big award. The Vikings athletic training staff was recognized last month as the Ed Block Courage Award NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year. The Ed Block Courage Award for NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year is voted on by all 32 NFL athletic training staffs and the members of the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society and recognizes one NFL athletic training staff annually for their distinguished service to their club, community, and athletic training profession. CONGRATULATIONS!

Dustin Eslinger, MA, ATC, ITAT
Athletic Trainer
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

February 8th, 2018

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