The NFL General Medical Committee is composed of independent and NFL-affiliated medical professionals and focuses on medical issues relevant to the health and safety of active NFL players.
- Advise the NFL on medical policies, procedures and protocols
- Determine and advise the NFL on medical best practices
- Identify and recommend medical research that impacts the health and safety of active
- Oversee research when requested by the NFL
Areas of Focus
Prevention and treatment of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and mood disorders
Proactive promotion of positive mental health
Cardiomyopathy, valvular cardiac diseases and arrhythmias that are relevant to professional football players
Hypertension and pre-hypertension
Sleep disordered breathing
Heat injury—evaluation, treatment and prevention of heat stroke
Infections—treatment and prevention
The committee responds to medical topics as needed
- Deverick Anderson, MD, MPH, FIDSA, FSHEADr. Dev Anderson is an Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Medicine at Duke University. He is currently Director of the Duke Center for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention and Director of the Duke Program for Infection Prevention in the NFL. With training in internal medicine, infectious diseases, and epidemiology, Dr. Anderson assesses medical problems at both the population and individual patient levels. Over the past decade, Dr. Anderson’s work has led to improvements in the quality and safety of care in multiple areas of healthcare, including Duke University Hospital and more than 40 community hospitals in the southeastern U.S. through the Center’s outreach networks, Duke Infection Control for Sports (ICS)—formerly known as the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON)—and the Duke Antimicrobial Stewardship Outreach Network (DASON). Dr. Anderson has authored over 140 peer-reviewed articles related to quality of care, patient safety, healthcare epidemiology, antimicrobial stewardship, and multidrug-resistant pathogens. Dr. Anderson has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is currently the Principal Investigator of the Duke-UNC Prevention Epicenter Program, one of 11 prestigious Epicenter Programs funded by the CDC. Dr. Anderson is recognized as a national and international expert. In addition to his work with the NFL, he is currently a Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and is a Fellow and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. In addition, he is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Physician Faculty Scholars Program, is a member of the Steering Committee for the NIH’s Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group, and recently received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Association of Professionals in Infection Prevention.
- Doug Casa, PhD, ATC, FACSM, FNATAFor Dr. Douglas Casa, the opportunity to prevent sudden death in sport is the culmination of a life-long path; his passion for the study of exertional heat stroke started in 1985 when he suffered an exertional heat stroke while running a 10K race. This experience motivated what has become his life’s cause: the study of exertional heat stroke, heat illnesses, hydration, and preventing sudden death in sport – his ultimate goal is to find ways to prevent needless tragedy during sport and physical activity. “I was fortunate to receive amazing care on-site from the athletic trainer; the EMT's in the ambulance; and at the hospital from the emergency room physicians and nurses. I only survived because of the exceptional care I received. I was just 16 years old at the time, but I have been driven by this experience since that day,” Dr. Casa explains when asked about what motivates him. He celebrated his 30th anniversary of surviving his exertional heat stroke on August 8, 2015. In April 2010 Kelci Stringer (Korey’s widow) and James Gould (Korey’s agent) asked Dr. Casa to develop and run the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) at the University of Connecticut. Korey was an All-Pro offensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. He died from exertional heat stroke in August 2001. The KSI (ksi.uconn.edu) serves the public to work toward preventing sudden death for athletes, soldiers, and laborers by mean of education, advocacy, public policy, research, media outreach, and publications. Additionally, he is the editor of a book titled: Preventing Sudden Death in Sport and Physical Activity (2nd edition, 2017), published by Jones & Bartlett in cooperation with the American College of Sports Medicine. For the past 17 years, Dr. Casa has worked toward his goal of preventing sudden death in sport at the Department of Kinesiology, College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut. During this time he has published more than 175 peer-reviewed publications/book chapters and presented more than 350 times on subjects related to exertional heat stroke, heat-related illnesses, preventing sudden death in sport, and hydration. Dr. Casa has successfully treated 225 cases of exertional heat stroke (with 0 fatalities). In October 2010 the Department of Kinesiology doctoral program at the University of Connecticut was ranked number 1 in the country by the National Academy of Kinesiology (for 2010-2105). Additionally, in September 2010 the National Research Council ranked the faculty in the Department of Kinesiology number one for research productivity. Dr. Casa was named full professor at the University of Connecticut in August 2010. In 2008 he was the recipient of the medal for distinguished athletic training research from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. He was named a fellow of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2008. He received the Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2007 and has been a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine since 2001. In 2011 he was inducted into the University of Florida alumni hall of fame. He has been a lead or co-author on numerous sports medicine (ACSM, NATA) position statements related to heat illness and hydration. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Athletic Training, and on the editorial board of Current Sports Medicine Reports, Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, and the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Dr. Casa has worked with numerous media outlets across the country in discussing his research including the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America, ESPN, CNN, PBS, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Dr. Casa earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Allegheny College, in 1990; his master’s degree in athletic training from the University of Florida in 1993; and his doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of Connecticut in 1997. He has been happily married to his wife Tutita Casa, PhD for 20 years and they have 3 kids; Montana (12), Navia (11), and Alessio (10).
- Tony Casolaro, MD
- James Collins, ATCJames Collins is Head Athletic Trainer for the Los Angeles Chargers and President of the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS). Collins and his staff were selected as the NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year by PFATS in 2009. Born in Lothian, Md., Collins was an aviation physiology technician in the U.S. Navy from 1980-84. He played basketball at Morris Brown College and earned a degree in physical education from San Diego State. Collins was a Chargers intern in 1986 and promoted to assistant athletic trainer in 1987. He also worked as an orthopedic tech and surgical assistant for the OASIS Medical Group. In 1991, Collins was hired as an assistant in Denver and spent five seasons with the Broncos. He later spent a season with the World League’s London Monarchs (’95) and the ’96-98 seasons in Philadelphia before re-joining the Chargers in ’99. Collins is a member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association and serves on the NFL’s Health and Safety, General Medical and Musculoskeletal Committees. In 2005, he was named to the NATA Hall of Fame selection committee. He was formerly the AFC’s representative for the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society. In 2004, Collins was honored as a “Distinguished Alumnus” by San Diego State’s Exercise and Nutritional Sciences Department. In 2012, Collins helped coordinate the opening of the San Diego Chargers Courage House at Casa de Amparo, a safe-house for abused kids. In 2013, he was selected to the executive board at Casa de Amparo as a liaison to the Chargers.
- Leigh Ann Curl, MD
- Jon Drezner, MD
- Rob Heyer, MDDr. Robert A. Heyer is President of the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS). Since 1994, Dr. Heyer has served as a team internist for the Carolina Panthers. He has over 35 years of experience and practices in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Disease. He graduated from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas in 1973. Dr. Heyer is a clinical professor for the Department of Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He joined the faculty at Carolinas Medical Center in 2002 and is a member of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division. Between 1991-96, Dr. Heyer was the Medical Director of Respiratory Therapy at the Carolinas Medical Center. He was also Chief of the Pulmonary Section at the medical center between 1991-93. His awards include the Charlotte Country Day School, Honorary Alumnus Award 1998 and the Outstanding Volunteer Award from the American Lung Association of North Carolina. Dr. Heyer is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha. He is also a member of the NFL Cardiovascular Health Research Committee. Other Professional services include former President of the North Carolina Thoracic Society between 1989-90, member of the American Thoracic Society, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians and American Association of Medical Directors of Respiratory Care.
- Jim Kinderknecht, MD
- Thom Mayer, MD, FACEP, FAAP (NFL Players Association)Dr. Thom Mayer is the Medical Director of the NFL Players Association, a position he assumed at the request of Gene Upshaw on the day Korey Stringer, a tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, passed away from heat stroke. The NFLPA had never before had a Medical Director. Under the leadership of current NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, Dr. Mayer and his team pioneered a new era in assuring that the health and safety of NFL athletes are protected. Heat illness, traumatic brain injuries, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal injuries, and strength training are all now subject to strict guidelines. In this critical role for the NFLPA, he has become one of the most trusted and widely-respected physicians in sports medicine. He is also recognized as an expert in emergency medicine, pediatric emergency medicine, trauma and healthcare leadership. With regard to sports medicine, leadership development, service excellence and patient flow, he is the most respected and widely known emergency physician in the nation. Dr. Mayer has published over 90 articles, 100 book chapters, and has edited 15 textbooks. He has spoken at over 200 national and international conferences on sports medicine and emergency medicine. On September 11, 2001 Dr. Mayer served as one of the Command Physicians at the Pentagon Rescue Operation, coordinating medical assets at the site. The BestPractices physicians at Inova Fairfax Hospital were the first to successfully diagnose and treat inhalational anthrax victims during the fall 2001 anthrax crises, and Dr. Mayer has served the Department of Defense on Defense Science Board Task Forces on Bioterrorism, Homeland Security, and consequences of Weapons of Mass Destruction. His expertise and insights in crisis management are thus informed by hard-won experience. Dr. Mayer’s academic appointments are as Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at the George Washington and Senior Lecturing Fellow, Duke University School of Medicine.
- Nyaka NiiLampti, PhDNyaka NiiLampti, Ph.D. is currently the Vice President of Wellness and Clinical Services for the National Football League. In her role, she is responsible for implementing and expanding the Total Wellness platform, ensuring a holistic approach to the care of players and members of the NFL family. The goal of the Total Wellness platform includes overall wellness, family safety, healthy lifestyle development, and transition support through clinical resources, education and awareness efforts, peer-to-peer connections, research, and an overall proactive approach. Through a series of touchpoints, Dr. NiiLampti is charged with developing, managing, and promoting all aspects of this platform along a variety of internal and external stakeholders: active players and Legends, NFL club and League staff, player support systems, governing bodies, and the broader community. Nyaka is a licensed psychologist with twenty years of clinical experience, and has worked extensively with organizations, sports teams, individuals, and families in a variety of settings, including community mental health, college counseling centers, and in private practice. She most recently served as the Director of Player Wellness for the NFL Players Association, where she focused on providing resources and educating players on all aspects of wellness and served as an advocate for players by ensuring their rights are protected under the NFL Drug Policies. Before joining the NFLPA, Dr. NiiLampti was a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Psychology at Queens University of Charlotte, where she taught undergraduate courses in multiple areas and served as the Faculty Athletic Representative to the NCAA. During that time, she also provided comprehensive services in private practice, focused primarily on athlete wellbeing and performance-related concerns as well as serving as a Treating Clinician for the NFL Program for Substances of Abuse and as an approved clinician for the NBA/NBPA Player Assistance/Anti-Drug Program. Her research interests focused on multiculturalism and mental health, particularly as those concepts relate to issues of resiliency and success, and she provided local and national trainings, workshops, and lectures on a variety of topics including aspects of cultural diversity and identity, athletes and mental health, and student-athlete transition. A former track and field college student-athlete, Nyaka has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, an M.A. with a concentration in Sport Psychology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a Ph.D. from Temple University.
- Patrick Strollo Jr, MD, FACP, FCCP, FAASMDr. Strollo is Chairman of the Department of Medicine, and Vice President of the Medical Service Line VA Pittsburgh Health System. He is a Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science and Vice Chairman of Medicine for Veterans Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is certified by the by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, and Sleep Medicine. Dr. Strollo has been funded as Co-PI or Co-Investigator on multiple sleep-related grants from the NIH since 2004 to include 8 RO1s, 1 R21, 1R24, 2 R13s and 2 STTRs. In addition to his role as a Program Co-director on the T32 “Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine”, he is a Co-Director of the University of Pittsburgh CTSA Clinical and Translational Neuroscience Research Center. Dr. Strollo has over 100 publications that include 81 papers in peer reviewed journals in Sleep and Pulmonary Medicine and 67 book chapters and invited papers. He is currently the Chair of The NHLBI Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board. Dr. Strollo has served on multiple workshops and steering committees within the American Thoracic Society, American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and NHLBI. He served as the president of the AASM 2010-2011. While on active duty in the USAF he served as a Consultant to the US Air Force Surgeon General for Pulmonary / Sleep Disorders. Dr. Strollo is the 2015 recipient of the AASM excellence in education award. He received the 2015 Clinical Research Award by the Clinical Research Forum. He has served as a member of the Francis B Parker Foundation Scientific Council (2011-2014). He served as a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine Pulmonary Disease Subspecialty Board (2006 -2012). He has been instrumental in developing the CTSA national sleep research network. Dr. Strollo received a BS degree in Chemistry from Washington College, an MS degree in Biomedical Sciences from Wagner College and his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine. He trained in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary / Critical Care at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. He served on active duty in the USAF for sixteen years rising to the rank of Lt Colonel.
- Andrew Tucker, MD (Chairman)Dr. Tucker is Chair of the NFL General Medical Committee. He is Medical Director of MedStar Union Memorial Sports Medicine, and Assistant Director of the University of Maryland/MedStar Union Memorial Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. Dr. Tucker is Head Team Physician of the Baltimore Ravens, and has served as an NFL team physician since 1991. He was President of the NFL Team Physicians Society from 2007-2009, and a long-time member of the NFL TPS Executive Committee. Dr. Tucker has served on the NFL Subcommittee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (1994-2009), and the NFL Subcommittee on Cardiovascular Health (Co-chair, 2004-2015). For many years, Dr. Tucker has been an active researcher of health issues involving active and former professional football player, most notably concussion and cardiovascular health. He has shared his experience in numerous publications and presentations at national conferences. Dr. Tucker practices primary care sports medicine at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore and serves as Head of Primary Care Sports Medicine for the MedStar North region. He serves as team physician for University of Maryland Baltimore County, Coppin State College, and Loyola Blakefield High School.
- Robert Vogel, MDDr. Robert Vogel is a preventive cardiologist at the University of Colorado Denver, where he is a Clinical Professor of Medicine. He received his B.A. from Columbia University (physics) and M.D. from Yale University. He served on the faculties of the Universities of Colorado, Michigan, and Maryland. Dr. Vogel has investigated heart disease for more than 40 years, pioneering tomographic myocardial perfusion imaging and quantitative coronary arteriography, and discovering the acute vascular effects of food, physical activity, and media. He is the author of two books and more than 250 scientific publications. He was Director of Cardiology at the University of Maryland for 14 years and served as the President of the Association of University Cardiologists. Dr. Vogel lectures frequently to practicing physicians on lifestyle and heart disease prevention and has received a Good Housekeeping Magazine’s “Best Doctors in America” designation and a Federal Scientist of the Year Award. Dr. Vogel serves as a consultant to the Pritikin Longevity Institute and previously was Co-Chair of the National Football League Subcommittee on Cardiovascular Disease. Currently, he serves as President of the Cherry Creek North Neighborhood Association.
- Jim Whalen, ATC