Mission

The NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee is composed of independent and NFL-affiliated medical professionals and focuses on neurological issues relevant to the health and safety of active NFL players.


Goals

  • Advise the NFL on medical policies, procedures and protocols
  • Determine and advise the NFL on best practices
  • Identify and recommend medical research that impacts the health and safety of active
    NFL players
  • Oversee research when requested by the NFL and its collaborators
  • Analyze injury data and propose interventions
  • Create and supervise focused research groups with specific goals and assignments (e.g.
    biomechanical engineering)
  • Improve public education and advocate for enhanced sports safety

Areas of Focus

Concussion

Diagnosis

Prevention

Treatment

Moderate and Severe Brain Injury

Diagnosis

Prevention

Treatment

Neck and Spine

Diagnosis

Prevention

Treatment


Membership

  • Hunt Batjer, MD, FACS (Co-Chairman)
    Dr. Hunt Batjer is the Lois C.A. and Darwin E. Smith Distinguished Chair in Neurological Surgery and Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Batjer is recognized internationally as a leading cerebrovascular surgeon. Dr. Batjer has had numerous roles in organized medicine. He is a past-President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Society of University Neurosurgeons, the Neurosurgical Society of America, and the Society of Neurological Surgeons, and is the immediate past-President of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. He is past-Chairman of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Section on Cerebrovascular Disease. He is a past-Director and past-Chair of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and was Chairman of the Board of the Interurban Neurosurgical Society from 2001 to 2012. He is past-Chair of the ACGME Neurosurgical Residency Review Committee, and Co-Chair of the NFL Committee on Head, Neck, and Spine Injuries. In 2011 he was named Honored Guest of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. In 2016 he was the Medalist for Neurosurgical Society of America and was awarded the Founder’s Laurel by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Dr. Batjer recently returned to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, which is the institution in which he obtained his medical education and neurosurgical training. He served on the faculty at UT Southwestern until 1995, when he took the position as the Michael J. Marchese Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago where he served until September 2012. His academic pursuits and research in ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke have resulted in over 430 publications and 12 books and chapters. He has presented 45 Endowed Lectureships and served as Visiting Professor in 58 medical institutions worldwide.
  • Rich Ellenbogen, MD, FACS (Co-Chairman)
    Dr. Richard G. Ellenbogen is Professor and Theodore Roberts Endowed Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He is also Director of the UW Medicine Neuroscience Institute. In addition, he is Director of the Neurological Surgery Residency Program and Founding Co-Director of the Seattle Sports Concussion Program, a joint program sponsored by Seattle Children’s Hospital and UW Medicine. He is currently an Officer and a Director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and President of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons. His numerous clinical interests include pediatric and adult neurological surgery, general neurological surgery, endoscopic brain surgery and neuro-trauma care. He has served as President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), and is Co-Chair, National Football League (NFL) Head, Neck and Spine Medicine Committee. Dr. Ellenbogen has three recent extramurally funded research efforts. He is the PI on an NIH funded Neurosciences Training Grant (R-25), his NCI funded molecular imaging lab studies targeting of brain tumors using immunofluorescent nanoparticles, and he was PI on a Paul Allen Brain Science Foundation funded project on mapping the transcriptome in patients who have suffered a TBI. Dr. Ellenbogen completed his Neurosurgery Training in 1989 at The Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School Program. Prior to joining the University of Washington, Dr. Ellenbogen was Chairman of the National Capital Area Neurosurgery Consortium and Residency Program Director, (Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda National Naval Medical Center), and Neurosurgery Director and Co-Principal Investigator of the Department of Defense Veterans Head Injury Program, also at Walter Reed Medical Center. Dr. Ellenbogen also served as Commander of the 252nd Medical Detachment KE Team (XIII Airborne Corp) during Operation Desert Shield/Storm, and was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.
  • Mitch Berger, MD, FACS, FAANS
    Dr. Mitchel S. Berger is the Berthold and Belle N. Guggenhime Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Director of UCSF’s Brain Tumor Center. Dr. Berger has clinical expertise in treating adult and pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors. He is a pioneer of intraoperative brain mapping — a technique used to avoid functional areas of the brain during surgical resection of a tumor. His work has enabled surgeons to perform more extensive resection of tumor with less chance of producing sensorimotor or language deficit. Dr. Berger is also a leader of translational research and is the Principal Investigator of the UCSF Brain Tumor Research Center’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence in neuro-oncology, funded by the National Cancer Institute. During his distinguished career, Dr. Berger has served as President of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, President of the Society of Neuro-Oncology, President of the North Pacific Society of Neurology, President of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, and Vice President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. He has also been a director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Dr. Berger currently serves as a member of the National Football League Head, Neck and Spine Committee, focusing on retired players’ issues and examining the consequences of repetitive head injury and concussion. He is also an active member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Organization for Cancer Research, the American College of Surgeons, and the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies. Most recently he was appointed to the Blue Ribbon Panel of scientific experts that will help guide the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
  • Javier Cárdenas, MD
    Dr. Javier Cárdenas is the director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, an interdisciplinary clinic that is nationally recognized for comprehensive patient care. Since 2009, the Center has treated thousands of individuals suffering from traumatic brain injury due to sports, accidents, and domestic violence. He is also the director of the Barrow Concussion Network, the most comprehensive statewide concussion education, prevention, and treatment program in the United States. Dr. Cárdenas provides sideline concussion coverage for Arizona State University and the National Football League. He serves on the NFL’s Head, Neck & Spine Committee, the Sport Medical Advisory Committee of the National Federation of High Schools, is chair of the Arizona Interscholastic Association Sport Medical Advisory Committee, and chair of the Arizona Governor's Council on Spinal and Head Injuries. He was awarded Arizona State University's Young Alumni award in 2014, the 2015 American Academy of Neurology Advocate Year, and the 2016 Chicanos por la Causa Cause for a Change award for his work in concussion prevention. Dr. Cárdenas is committed to the care, treatment, and prevention of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury in children and adolescents.  Dr. Cárdenas graduated from Arizona State University with highest honors and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. As a special education teacher, he instructed children with traumatic brain injury and developmental disabilities. For 16 years, he volunteered for Special Olympics in Arizona. His background in special education and long history of volunteerism has guided his career, leading him to the field of child neurology. He graduated from the University of Arizona, College of Medicine with honors in Neurology. He completed a residency in pediatrics at St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, where he was recognized for his outstanding care of infants and children. Dr. Cárdenas trained in the Department of Child Neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute where he received awards for academic presentations and leadership.
  • Russell Lonser, MD
    Dr. Russell Lonser is professor and chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Ohio State University. He earned his MD from Loma Linda University and received his neurosurgical training at the University of Utah. During his residency, he completed a research fellowship in the Surgical Neurology Branch at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Upon completion of his residency, he joined the staff of the Surgical Neurology Branch at the NIH. He became chief of the Surgical Neurology Branch in 2007 where he started the NIH Neurological Surgery Residency Training Program, before moving to Ohio State University in 2012. Dr. Lonser’s research interests include the development of drug delivery paradigms for the central nervous system pathology, as well as investigation of tumor pathogenesis and biology. His clinical and surgical interests are centered on the treatment of brain, skull base, and spinal cord tumors. He is an author on over 250 scientific and clinical publications. He received the Young Investigator Award in 2001 and Mahaley Clinical Research Award in 2013 from the Joint Section on Tumors. He is co-inventor on a patent for imaging delivery of therapeutic agents in the nervous system. He has served the Congress of Neurological Surgeons as a member-at-large of the Executive Committee, scientific meeting chair, Annual Meeting chair, and treasurer. He also served on the Executive Committee for the Joint Section on Tumors. He has been actively involved in the mentoring and training of over 40 neurosurgical fellows. He is on the editorial boards for NeurosurgeryWorld Neurosurgery and Journal of Neurosurgery. He is an Academic Editor for PLoS One and Science Reports and is consulting editor for Neurosurgery Clinics of North America.
  • Margot Putukian, MD, FACSM
    Dr. Margot Putukian is the Director of Athletic Medicine, Head Team Physician and Assistant Director of Medical Services at Princeton University. Dr. Putukian is a past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), and a Team Physician for US Soccer as well as for the US Men's Lacrosse Team. She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, and her Medical Degree from Boston University, completed her residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester NY before completing a fellowship in Sports Medicine at Michigan State University. Dr. Putukian is board certified in Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine. Dr. Putukian has been a co-author on several journal articles, including the NATA & AMSSM Position Statements on Concussion, and the Zurich International Concussion Conference documents. She is a primary author for several Team Physician Consensus Statements covering a variety of team physician issues. Dr. Putukian chairs the Clinical Sports Medicine Leadership committee for the American College of Sports Medicine, and is a recipient of the ACSM Citation Award. She is the primary care medical consultant for Major League Soccer, and chairs the US Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee. She also serves on several medical advisory committees, including US Soccer, USA Football, and the NFL’s Head Neck and Spine Committee.
  • Elizabeth Nabel, MD (Ex-Officio)
    Dr. Betsy Nabel is president of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Health Care (BWHC). A cardiologist by training, Dr. Nabel is also a distinguished research scientist, leader in academic medicine, and a long-time advocate for wellness and health equity. Dr. Nabel is passionate about advancing innovation and research, having committed BWHC to multiple core initiatives from care redesign to personalized therapies and precision medicine, advancing BWHC’s reputation as a global leader in health care. In 2015, building on her lifelong commitment to improving health through science, Dr. Nabel became chief health and medical advisor to the National Football League. In this advisory role, Dr. Nabel provides strategic input to the NFL’s medical, health and scientific efforts; participates as an ex-officio member on the NFL’s medical advisory committees; and identifies areas for the NFL to enhance player safety, care and treatment. Before coming to BWHC, Dr. Nabel served as director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from 2005-2009, where she leveraged a $3 billion research portfolio to establish pioneering scientific programs in genomics, stem cells, and translational research. One of her signature advocacy efforts was the Red Dress Heart Truth campaign, which raises heart awareness in women through unprecedented industry partnerships. An accomplished physician-scientist, Dr. Nabel’s work on the molecular genetics of cardiovascular diseases has produced 17 patents and more than 250 scientific publications. Nabel has been named one of the nation’s top leaders in medicine by Modern Healthcare and Becker’s Hospital Review, and has been the recipient of dozens of notable awards and positions in prestigious national organizations. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Dr. Nabel attended Weill Cornell Medical College and completed her internal medicine and cardiology training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She and her husband Gary, who is the chief scientific officer for Sanofi, have three children, all of whom are pursuing careers in medicine.
  • 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.

Head, Neck and Spine Engineering Subcommittee

This subcommittee includes a diverse and experienced group of technical experts — biomechanical engineers, biomedical engineers, material scientists — who study helmets, pads and other protective equipment to improve safety on the field. They engage in significant research designed to advance the development of protective equipment.

Subcommittee Membership

  • Jeff Crandall, PhD (Chairman)
    Dr. Jeff Crandall is the Nancy and Neal Wade Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Virginia and holds appointments in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Orthopaedic Surgery, and Emergency Medicine. He is the director of the UVA Center for Applied Biomechanics, a Fellow of SAE and the Association of Automotive Medicine (AAAM), and a past-president of the AAAM and the International Research Council on Biomechanics of Injury (IRCOBI). He has authored more than 600 technical papers and has received numerous best paper and oral presentation awards. He has received the United States Government Award for Engineering Excellence and the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Faculty Member Award. Dr. Crandall serves as an engineering consultant to the NFL and chair of the NFL Head, Neck, and Spine Engineering Subcommittee. Dr. Crandall’s research focuses on understanding human response and injury with applications in automobile safety, sports, and military protection. He has extensive experience with experimental biomechanics spanning the length scales of tissue samples to whole body cadavers. He has been integral in the development of advanced dummies including THOR and the Polar Pedestrian dummy as well as in the evaluation of numerous other frontal and side impact adult and child dummies. In addition to the development of physical dummies, he has led efforts for the creation of human and dummy computational models and was the principal investigator for the Global Human Body Pelvis and Lower Extremity Center of Excellence.
  • Jim Funk, PhD, PE (Subcommittee Scientific Coordinator)
    Dr. Jim Funk is the Scientific Coordinator of the NFL Head, Neck, and Spine Engineering Subcommittee. He has a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Duke University, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Texas and Virginia in the fields of biomedical and mechanical engineering. Jim has been active in the field of injury biomechanics for more than 20 years. He has published over fifty peer-reviewed scientific papers in the fields of orthopaedics, biomechanics, accident reconstruction, and injury risk analysis. While at the University of Virginia, Dr. Funk worked in the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory under the School of Medicine and the Automobile Safety Laboratory (now the Center for Applied Biomechanics) under the School of Engineering. He then left Virginia and worked for Biodynamic Research Corporation in San Antonio, Texas for 12 years, where he analyzed real world injuries resulting from vehicle collisions, falls, industrial accidents, and other mishaps. He began taking an active role in head injury research, collaborating with Virginia Tech in analyzing on-field player sensor data and conducting extensive head impact testing on crash test dummies, human volunteers, and himself. Dr. Funk returned to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he currently studies concussion and works on the projects in the Engineering Roadmap.
  • Kristy Arbogast, PhD (NFL Players Association)
    Kristy Arbogast, Ph.D., is the Co-Scientific Director and Director of Engineering for the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and a Research Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1997, she received her PhD in Bioengineering with a focus on brain injury mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania and began her research career at CHOP. In 2014, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Chalmers University of Technology in Goteborg, Sweden for her leadership in the field of child safety. She is an internationally recognized expert on pediatric injury biomechanics, injury causation and the effectiveness of safety products for children. Her research efforts have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and several corporate entities in the field of automotive safety and include the biomechanics of pediatric injury for the development of new safety designs and biofidelic child anthropomorphic dummies. She was a co-investigator on the Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) project, a 10-year national study on child passenger safety funded by State Farm Insurance. Dr. Arbogast served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Sports Concussion in Youth and led an effort at Children’s Hospital to standardize clinical care of concussion throughout the Hospital’s health care network. Dr. Arbogast serves as the Co-Director of the National Science Foundation sponsored Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS) at CHOP, the University of Pennsylvania and The Ohio State University. CChIPS is an Industry-University Cooperative Research Center focused on the advancement of safety for children, youth, and young adults by facilitating scientific inquiry into childhood and young adult injuries and to translate these findings into commercial applications and public education programs for preventing future injuries from occurring. Dr. Arbogast has given many invited lectures on the biomechanics of unintentional injury to children, both nationally and internationally, and has been recognized by the Society of Automotive Engineers, Stapp Car Crash Conference, Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, and the Automotive Safety Council for her work.
  • Randal Ching, PhD
    Dr. Ching is a Research Associate Professor in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering (primary), Bioengineering (adjunct), and Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine (adjunct), at the University of Washington. Dr. Ching’s research interests lie in the biomechanics of the human musculoskeletal system, particularly orthopaedic and injury biomechanics. After spending 10 years on the faculty of the UW Department of Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine (1992-2002), he returned to his engineering roots in 2002 to help start a graduate-level biomechanics program in the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves as Director of the UW Applied Biomechanics Laboratory (ABL). The Applied Biomechanics Lab (ABL) specializes in the testing and evaluation of a variety of orthopedic medical devices and joint replacement systems for the spine, hip, knee, and extremities. In addition, the ABL conducts research to biomechanically characterize musculoskeletal tissue properties for use in computational models, establishing human tolerance values, and the development of surgically implantable devices. A recent focus of the ABL has been on refining and improving the implementation of surgical navigation systems in the operating room. Finally, Dr. Ching is actively involved in the performance evaluation of helmets and wearable head-impact sensors (dosimetry). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Snell Memorial Foundation (an international non-profit organization dedicated to research, education, testing and development of helmet safety standards) and the Engineering Subcommittee of the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee.
  • David Meaney, PhD
    Dr. David F. Meaney is the Solomon R. Pollack Professor and Chair Bioengineering (BE). Meaney’s research focuses on understanding the mechanical cues that regulate injury, repair, and growth in cells and tissues of the central nervous system. The process of mechanotransduction is critical in understanding the response of cells and tissues of the central nervous system (CNS) to traumatic injury. In this research area, experimental work is combined with mathematical modeling to provide a method to quantify the effect of physical forces on cell and tissue function. For example, some of the research combines finite element models of the brain with experimental work to estimate the tissue mechanical stress/strain associated with biological markers of injury. These models provide a starting point to relate traditional measures of stress to the microstructural constituents of the tissue. Structural models are being developed to link global mechanical deformations and the resulting deformation of cellular/subcellular microstructures in the CNS white matter. With the kinematic transformations between the macroscopic deformations and cellular components of the CNS white matter now better established, the research has expanded to determine the mechanism(s) by which a mechanical signal is converted into a biochemical signaling cascade for organotypic tissue, cultured neurons, and cultured axons. Clinical applications of his work include developing new testing standards to improve the safety of headgear and automotive restraint systems, and testing new techniques for repairing damaged tissues in the brain after injury. Meaney received his PhD in Bioengineering 1991 from the University of Pennsylvania, an MSE in Bioengineering in 1988 from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS in Biomedical Engineering in 1987 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
  • Barry Myers, MD, PhD
    Dr. Myers has been a member of the Duke faculty since 1991 and is currently Managing Director of Licensing and Ventures. His research examines the biomechanics of head and neck injury with the goal of injury prevention. Dr. Myers founded and directs the Coulter Foundation Translational Partnership Program at Duke that provides $1 MM in early stage funding and management to faculty health care innovations annually with a goal of licensing and creating new life science start-up companies. Dr. Myers is the Director of Emerging Programs in the Duke Translational Research Institute where he is responsible for the consult service that provides funding and project management support to faculty translational research projects in the Duke Medical Center. Within the Office of Licensing and Ventures, he manages IT, legal and works with faculty to facilitate transfer of their innovations into the marketplace. He also maintains an active consulting practice including the NFL and NASCAR while serving as an Executive-in-Residence at Pappas Ventures advising several start-up companies. Dr. Myers is considered by many as the preeminent researcher in his field worldwide, having over 100 manuscripts and publications on the subject. Among Dr. Myers many honors are the Stapp Award of Recognition, and the Isbrandt Award for automotive safety from the Society of Automotive Engineers. He is the six-time winner of the Stapp Award for research in impact biomechanics, more than any other individual, and also the Bertil Aldman award for impact biomechanics research. Dr. Myers has worked with all major organizations concerned with safety in the United States including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. Because of his breadth of experience in injury prevention, Dr. Myers was appointed to the position of Senior Scientific Advisor to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control for two years. He has also consulted with most major automobile manufactures and automotive racing organizations worldwide. Dr. Myers is a Distinguished Professor at Duke University, having received the Bass Chair in recognition of his accomplishments in research and teaching. He is the faculty advisor to four student best graduate student paper competition winners at national meetings. He was responsible for the 2004 revision of the Pratt School of Engineering undergraduate curriculum. He has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He has also served as Senior Associate Dean for Industrial Partnerships and the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization in the Pratt School of Engineering.
  • Frank Pintar, PhD
    Dr. Pintar is a Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Marquette University, and Director of the Neuroscience Research Laboratories at the VA Medical Center. These laboratories occupy over 25,000 sq ft and employ eight PhD scientists and 22 staff for conduct of ongoing federally funded research projects. Over the years, Dr. Pintar has served as a research mentor to over 30 graduate students, post docs, residents, fellows, and junior faculty in the medical school and engineering school. Dr. Pintar has held numerous committee positions within the Medical College of Wisconsin including the chair of the Faculty Benefits committee. He has been active as a member of grant review teams (e.g., CDC, NIH, NIDRR) and other scientific organizations (e.g., Cervical Spine Research Society, Stapp Association) and received grant awards from NIH, VA, CDC, DOT, DoD, and foundations. He has authored more than 500 research publications including two books on head and neck trauma and over 290 peer-reviewed journal papers. He is one of the principal investigators of the US-DOT-NHTSA-sponsored MCW CIREN Center (six in the nation). Dr. Pintar conducts collaborative projects with the Injury Research Center through the departments of Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, and Trauma Surgery. He has also helped to mentor residents and fellows from Otolaryngology, Orthopedic Surgery, and Plastic Surgery. He has a secondary appointment in the department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy where he conducts collaborative projects and mentors basic science graduate students. Additionally, he participates as a faculty member of the Neuroscience Research Center. His current research interests include the biomechanics of brain and spinal cord injury, mechanics of spine surgical techniques, computer finite element modeling of the cervical spine, and motor vehicle crash trauma. He has received numerous awards and is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. He directs the only NHTSA-certified full-scale crashworthiness laboratory in an academic setting in the world, sled lab, biomechanics lab, stem cell lab, neurobiology lab, tissue/culture lab, and neurohistology lab.
  • Raúl Radovitzky, PhD
    Raúl Radovitzky joined the Faculty of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT in 2001 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006, and promoted to full Professor in 2012. He was born in Argentina and educated at the University of Buenos Aires, where he obtained his Civil Engineer degree in 1991. He received his M. Sc. in Applied Mathematics from Brown University in 1995 and his Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1998. He worked as a research engineer at the Center for Industrial Research of the Techint – Siderca Corporation in Argentina from 1990–93. From 1998–2001 he worked at the Caltech ASCI Center for the Dynamic Response of Materials, holding a Staff Scientist position at the Center for Advanced Computing Research. Professor Radovitzky's research interests are in the area of Computational Modeling of the response of solid materials and of fluid – structure interaction problems with particular interest in fundamental aspects of blast effects on humans and structures. His research activities have included: the development of numerical models for the analysis of different manufacturing processes in the steel industry, the formulation of efficient finite element interpolation schemes, the analysis of thermo-mechanical effects in welding processes, the Lagrangian formulations of viscous flows with applications to sloshing and wave – breaking, unstructured tetrahedral mesh generation algorithms, error estimation and adaptive remeshing schemes for nonlinear dynamic problems, analysis of Electromagnetic Riveting, dynamic fracture and fragmentation of glass rods, dry sliding wear of metals, formulation of efficient algorithms for the computation of the exponential and logarithmic mappings of square matrices, scalable Eulerian – fluid/Lagrangian – solid coupling algorithms and shock – capturing schemes for the Lagrangian analysis of shocks in solids. More recently, he has been working in the development of algorithms for the high performance simulation of the response of structures to blast waves as well as on local features of deformation in the high – rate response of polycrystalline materials. Prof. Radovitzky has been the Associate Director of the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies since 2008. He leads its Materials and Structures for Blast Damage and Injury mitigation team. Professor Radovitzky's educational interests are in integrating technology and pedagogy in the teaching of Computational Mechanics, Continuum Mechanics, Aerospace Structures, Mechanics of Materials, Numerical Methods and High – Performance Computing at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Professor Radovitzky is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, International Association of Computational Mechanics, American Academy of Mechanics, Materials Research Society and U.S. Association of Computational Mechanics.
  • Elizabeth Nabel, MD (Ex-Officio)
    Dr. Betsy Nabel is president of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Health Care (BWHC). A cardiologist by training, Dr. Nabel is also a distinguished research scientist, leader in academic medicine, and a long-time advocate for wellness and health equity. Dr. Nabel is passionate about advancing innovation and research, having committed BWHC to multiple core initiatives from care redesign to personalized therapies and precision medicine, advancing BWHC’s reputation as a global leader in health care. In 2015, building on her lifelong commitment to improving health through science, Dr. Nabel became chief health and medical advisor to the National Football League. In this advisory role, Dr. Nabel provides strategic input to the NFL’s medical, health and scientific efforts; participates as an ex-officio member on the NFL’s medical advisory committees; and identifies areas for the NFL to enhance player safety, care and treatment. Before coming to BWHC, Dr. Nabel served as director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from 2005-2009, where she leveraged a $3 billion research portfolio to establish pioneering scientific programs in genomics, stem cells, and translational research. One of her signature advocacy efforts was the Red Dress Heart Truth campaign, which raises heart awareness in women through unprecedented industry partnerships. An accomplished physician-scientist, Dr. Nabel’s work on the molecular genetics of cardiovascular diseases has produced 17 patents and more than 250 scientific publications. Nabel has been named one of the nation’s top leaders in medicine by Modern Healthcare and Becker’s Hospital Review, and has been the recipient of dozens of notable awards and positions in prestigious national organizations. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Dr. Nabel attended Weill Cornell Medical College and completed her internal medicine and cardiology training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She and her husband Gary, who is the chief scientific officer for Sanofi, have three children, all of whom are pursuing careers in medicine.
  • 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.

League Consultants

  • Robert Cantu, MD
    Dr. Robert Cantu is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Leader AD and CTE Center, at the Boston University School of Medicine, and Medical Director and Director of Clinical Research, Dr. Robert C. Cantu Concussion Center, Emerson Hospital. He has authored over 400 scientific publications, including 32 books on neurology and sports medicine, in addition to numerous book chapters, peer-reviewed papers, abstracts and free communications, and educational videos. He is section editor for World Neurosurgery and he has served as associate editor of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and Exercise and Sports Science Review, and on the editorial board of The Physician and Sports Medicine, Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, and Journal of Athletic Training. Dr. Cantu serves as Senior Advisor to the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee; Section Co-Chair Mackey-White National Football League Players Association Traumatic Brain Injury Committee; Founder and Medical Director Concussion Legacy Foundation (previously SLI); International Rugby Board Concussion Advisory Group; Adjunct Professor Exercise and Sport Science and Medical Director National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; Co-Director, Neurologic Sports Injury Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; Senior Advisor Brain Injury Center and Adjunct Staff, Children’s Hospital, Boston; Vice President Chair Scientific Advisory Committee National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE); Chief of Neurosurgery Service, Associate Chairman Department of Surgery, and Director of Sports Medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts. He also consults with numerous NFL, NHL and NBA teams.
  • Joseph Maroon, MD, FACS
    Dr. Joseph C. Maroon is Professor and Vice Chairman, Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience at the Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He is a board certified clinical professor of neurosurgery. His clinical and research interests have been in the development of minimally invasive surgical procedures for the brain and spine, the prevention and treatment of traumatic brain injuries and complimentary approaches to inflammatory diseases associated with aging. He co-developed ImPACT™, the first neurocognitive computerized system used to asses concussion severity and assist with timing for return to contact sports. It is the only FDA approved test for concussion evaluation (2016). Dr. Maroon has been the neurosurgical consultant for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 34 years. He has been a member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee since 2007. Dr. Maroon is past- president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Honored as one of America’s Best Neurosurgeons annually, he has published five books, has written over 280 peer-reviewed papers and 54 book chapters. Despite his busy professional schedule he has competed in over 80 triathlon events. These include 8 ironman distance triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) in Hawaii (1993, 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2013), Canada (1995), New Zealand (1997) and Europe (2000). In 2016 he was ranked 4th in his age group nationally. He was inducted into the Lou Holtz Hall of Fame, with Joe Montana and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, for his athletic accomplishments and contributions to sports medicine. In 2010 he was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame in Chicago. As medical director of the Live Free African Freedom Tour, on February 26, 2014 he, along with a group of amputees, summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the world.