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NFL continues working toward diversity

The NFL joined forces with the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) to announce the league-wide expansion of the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative.

The Steelers are one of the teams participating, with Warren Austin, who is in his third year at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, taking part beginning the end of July for a month. Austin, who is from Pittsburgh, is focused on orthopedics and will complete a one-month clinical rotation with the team’s medical staff.

“As a medical student interested in Sports Medicine, I am thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to be a participant in the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Program Pipeline Initiative,” sad Austin. “I am hopeful for my experience to be one of immense exposure to and learning about the commitment and work required by the personnel who are dedicated to caring for NFL players.”

This is the second year for the initiative, which aims to increase and diversify the pipeline of students interested in pursuing careers in sports medicine to help make a positive impact in the medical field and help to diversity NFL club medical staffs over time.

“Working toward diverse representation across all roles in our league continues to be a top priority, and this program helps us make a tangible impact to grow and bolster a pipeline of diverse sports medicine professionals,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We know that diversity makes us stronger at every level, and we look forward to welcoming the 2023 class to our player care teams at clubs across the league.”

About the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative:

The NFL, NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) are committed to increasing diversity in sports medicine. The NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative was developed to encourage medical students from diverse backgrounds to consider sports medicine careers.

The program provides medical students with the opportunity to complete a clinical rotation with NFL club medical staffs across the league. During their rotations, students will observe and participate in the care of players in NFL club settings. 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.

Additionally, students will become familiar with return-to-play guidelines and on-field treatment considerations for NFL players. Students may also have the opportunity to 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.

The inaugural program for the 2022 season was comprised of students from the 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. In 2023, student participants will join clubs from 19 total medical schools.

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