Dr. Allen Sills is the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), a full-time position dedicated to advancing the health and safety of the sport of football. He became the NFL’s first CMO in March 2017, joining the league from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. As a neurosurgeon specializing in the treatment of athletes, Dr. Sills continues to serve at Vanderbilt as a Professor of Neurological Surgery and the Founder and Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center.
As the NFL’s CMO, Dr. Sills works closely with team medical staffs across the league, the NFL Players Association and its advisors, and the many medical and scientific experts who comprise the NFL’s medical committees. He coordinates with these medical experts to lead the league’s efforts to make advances, on and off the field, to protect players from unnecessary risk through rule changes, evolution of equipment, and robust injury reduction plans.
Dr. Sill spearheaded the league’s Injury Reduction Plan—a three-pronged approach aiming to reduce the incidence of concussions—which led to a 24 percent drop in reported concussions during the 2018 season. The 2019 season saw reported concussion numbers remain statistically similar.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Sills has led the NFL’s response, coordinating with the NFLPA, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NFL Medical Committee members, and the NFL and NFLPA’s experts at Infection Control for Sports (“ICS”) (formerly known as the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network or “DICON”). Their recommendations have informed the development of the league’s COVID-related player safety protocols—from testing and exposure mitigation to equipment and medical ethics—which meet or exceed state and local orders.
Dr. Sills is an active researcher, having published over 170 scientific articles and presentations, including over 40 in the last five years on the topic of sports concussion. He is a member of the Concussion in Sport Group, which publishes international standards regarding concussion in sport. Dr. Sills is also a fellow of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American College of Surgeons.
Before joining the NFL, Dr. Sills served as a consulting neurosurgeon for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, the NHL’s Nashville Predators, the US Equestrian Foundation, and the athletic programs at Vanderbilt University, Belmont University and Mississippi State University. He also served as an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant on the NFL sidelines, and as a neurological consultant to the NCAA and the International Equestrian Foundation (FEI).
Dr. Sills previously served as the Founder and Executive Director of the Memphis Regional Brain Tumor Center; the Director of the Neuroscience Institute at Methodist University Hospital, Memphis; an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Memphis and the Semmes-Murphey Clinic; and as Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Dr. Sills graduated summa cum laude from Mississippi State University with a degree in engineering and received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also went on to complete his internship in General Surgery, his residency training in Neurological Surgery and an NIH-funded Neuro-Oncology Fellowship.
He serves on the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County Tennessee, and has served as a youth baseball coach for more than 20 years.
Dr. Sills and his wife Shawne live in Tennessee and have four children.
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