The NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee brings together some of the world’s foremost experts on neurosurgery and head trauma to advise the league on critical health and safety issues.

Leading Expertise

All told, the leading doctors on the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee have been working in their fields more than a combined 150 years.

One doctor on the committee received a Bronze Star for his actions during the first Gulf War conflict in 1991, taking care of head-injured soldiers.

And all of them are clinicians and scientists on the frontlines in the care of patients with traumatic brain injuries.

Committee Co-Chairmen

Here are two abbreviated biographies of the doctors co-chairing this NFL committee:

Dr. Hunt Batjer

Holds the Lois C.A. and Darwin E. Smith Distinguished Chair in Neurological Surgery at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

  • Dr. Batjer has dedicated his career to defining state-of-the-art neurosurgical innovations and training the next generation of surgeons.
  • Dr. Batjer is at the forefront of advancing clinical care and research on traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions. He is Co-Director of the Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair at UT Southwestern, which is “designed to propel dramatic progress in the understanding and treatment of mild, moderate, and severe brain injuries through high-impact preclinical and clinical research.”
  • He previously served as President of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, an international scientific and educational association with a membership of 9,000 neurosurgeons from all parts of the world.
  • Dr. Batjer’s academic pursuits and research include more than 398 publications, including nine books, 42 endowed lectureships and 57 visiting professorships at medical institutions worldwide.

Dr. Rich Ellenbogen

University of Washington Medical Center professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery

  • Dr. Ellenbogen describes his patient care philosophy as: “Love the patient more than you hate the disease.”
  • His numerous clinical interests include pediatric and adult brain tumors, trauma surgery, craniofacial abnormalities, Chiari malformations, congenital spine surgery and minimally invasive brain surgery. He is also conducting research on molecular imaging/nanoparticles and on traumatic brain injury.
  • Dr. Ellenbogen received his medical degree from Brown University and completed a neurosurgery residency at The Children’s Hospital/Boston, Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He fulfilled his military duties at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and was the neurosurgical Director of the Defense and Veteran’s Head Injury Program (DVHIP). He was awarded the bronze star for his actions during the first Gulf War conflict in 1991, taking care of head-injured soldiers.
  • Dr. Ellenbogen currently focuses on adult and pediatric head trauma, pediatric neurosurgery, endoscopic brain surgery and congenital malformations in adults. He serves as a Director of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons.
  • Dr. Ellenbogen’s academic pursuits and research include more than 198 peer-reviewed publications, four books, 30 visiting professorships at schools around the country and service on more than 90 international and national committees and professional societies.
  • While at University of Washington, he treated Zackery Lystedt for a severe brain injury Zackery suffered during a football game in 2006 when he was allowed to return to play following a concussion. Dr. Ellenbogen went on to vigorously and successfully advocate for enactment of strict return-to-play laws—known as the Lystedt Laws—in all 50 states, helping to protect other young athletes from returning to play too soon after a concussion.