Mission

The Health and Safety Committee is composed of the chairmen from each of the other NFL medical committees as well as the heads of the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS). It is designed to encourage representatives from every discipline to collaborate regularly, share experiences and jointly prioritize research projects to make the game safer.

Membership

  • Elliott Hershman, MD (Chairman)
    Dr. Elliott Hershman has spent over thirty years studying, treating and analyzing knee injuries in recreational, competitive and elite athletes. He is committed to developing new techniques and perfecting current procedures that improve the care of patients with knee disorders and athletic injuries. Dr. Hershman’s clinical expertise includes: advanced arthroscopic procedures; anterior and posterior cruciate ligament reconstructions (ACL and PCL Reconstruction); treatment of multi-ligamentous knee injuries; surgical and non-operative treatment of chondral injuries; diagnosis and treatment of patellofemoral disorders; and procedures to preserve meniscal function. Dr. Hershman is in his 29th season with the Jets. He was promoted to his current position of team orthopedist following the 1991 season after he served as the team’s associate orthopedic surgeon from 1987-91. He began working with the Jets in 1976 as a medical student, and worked with the team as an orthopedic resident at Lenox Hill Hospital in 1982. Dr. Hershman continued specialized training in sports medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in 1984-85, where he worked with the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers before returning to Lenox Hill Hospital as an attending physician. He now holds the position of Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is the chairman of the NFL Injury and Safety Panel and also has served as team orthopedist for the New York Islanders from 1996-2009. Dr. Hershman also is the chief of orthopedics at ProHEALTH Care Associates in Lake Success, NY. Born in Jacksonville, NC, he earned his bachelor’s degree and MD from the University of Rochester.
  • Elizabeth Nabel, MD (Ex-Officio) (Chief Health and Medical Advisor)
    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.
  • Robert Anderson, MD
    Dr. Anderson is the founding orthopaedic surgeon of the O.L. Miller Foot and Ankle Institute of OrthoCarolina in Charlotte, North Carolina, practicing there since 1989. He is fellowship trained in foot and ankle disorders (Dr John Gould, Milwaukee WI ’88) with a large experience in sport related injuries. Has served as a team orthopedist to the Carolina Panthers since 2000 and as the Chairman of the Foot and Ankle Subcommittee for the NFL since 2003. He was recently named a co-chair of the NFL’s Musculoskeletal Committee, overseeing all orthopaedic injuries and research in professional football. Dr. Anderson Is an active consultant to a number of NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB teams and colleges, as well as the foot and ankle consultant to MLB Umpires Division. He serves as faculty to the Fellowship Program at OrthoCarolina, former Chief of the Foot and Ankle Service at the Carolinas Medical Center (1989-2015), and past Vice-chief of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at that institution. He is a Past President of the Medical Staff of Carolinas Medical Center and it’s >1700 physician members. Dr. Anderson is also a past-president of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society and is a member of the FAI Managerial Board. Former Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Techniques in Foot and Ankle Surgery; associate editor/reviewer for JBJS, JAAOS, FAI, AJSM and numerous other peer-review publications and author/editor of numerous chapters and manuscripts. Dr. Anderson was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attended the University of Mississippi where he was inducted into their Hall of Fame. He completed his medical degree at the Medical College of Wisconsin (formerly Marquette School of Medicine). He is married to Jean, and has three sons. His hobbies include lawn care, golf and return visits to the beautiful lakes of his home state.
  • Hunt Batjer, MD, FACS
    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.
  • James Collins, ATC
    James 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.
  • Rich Ellenbogen, MD, FACS
    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.
  • Rob Heyer, MD
    Dr. 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.
  • 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.
  • Andrew Tucker, MD
    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.
  • Ed Wojtys, MD
    Dr. Edward Wojtys is a William S. Smith Collegiate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and a Team Physician at the University of Michigan. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief, Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach and as Co-Chair of the National Football League’s Orthopaedic Research Committee. Dr. Wojtys is a former U of M Football player who completed his medical training and Orthopaedic Residency at the University of Michigan and Fellowship at Cincinnati Sports Medicine under the direction of Dr. Frank Noyes in Knee Surgery and Sports Medicine. He joined the U of M Faculty in 1985. His research team’s work has been recognized by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) with 8 National Awards. Their work received the 2016 Kappa Delta Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) - the highest Research Award given by these Societies. His research has been funded by the NIH and NIAMS (2006, 2009, 2016), NFL, Coulter Foundation, Orthopaedic Research and Educational Foundation (OREF), and the Center for Organogenesis.
  • John York, MD
    Dr. John York is the Chairman of the NFL Owner’s Health and Safety Advisory Committee since its inception in 2011. Dr. York graduated from the University of Notre Dame and serves as a member of the Science Advisory Council since 1998. Dr. York received his MD degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago and was honored as the 2008 Stritch Medal recipient, awarded annually to a member of the faculty or an alumnus who demonstrates the ideals of medicine promoted by Stritch. He was a medical resident and fellow in pathology and hematopatholgy at Vanderbilt University. Dr. York began his medical business career in 1982 as founder of DeYor Laboratories in Youngstown, Ohio, which provided medical, industrial and veterinary laboratory results. DeYor grew to 500 employees with operations in 3 states before the laboratory business was sold to a nationwide laboratory in 1993. Dr. York works closely with the NFL and the multiple NFL Medical and Engineering committees. The NFL has recorded and studied injury surveillance since 1980. Dr. York assisted with the upgrade of the collection of injury data and statistical review in 2010. An electronic medical records system for all players was implemented in 2011 and the EMR system was coupled with injury surveillance, shortly thereafter. Improvements were implemented for field surfaces, ongoing improvements continue with player equipment, helmets and shoes. The medical committees consist of many university physicians, experts in their fields, advising the NFL on medical and safety issues. The NFL implemented engineering research on field surfaces, shoes, helmets and sensors. Dr. York also serves on the Audit Committee and the International Committee, formerly the Chairman of the latter committee. He assists in the promotion of player safety in NFL games outside the US in London and Mexico City. The 49ers played the first regular season game outside the US in Mexico City in 2005.

League Consultants

  • Lawrence Brown, MD, MOH, DFASAM
    Dr. Brown serves as the Medical Advisor for the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. He received a combined doctorate of medicine from the New York University and a Masters in Public Health from the Columbia University. After completing an internal medicine residency at Harlem Hospital and a fellowship in neuroendocrinology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, he subsequently received academic appointments as Associate Physician at the Rockefeller University Hospital and Weill Medical College of Cornell. University. Dr. Brown serves as the Chief Executive Officer of START Treatment & Recovery Centers, a non-profit agency providing comprehensive treatment for substance use disorders. Following appointment by the Governor, he is a member of the NYS Public Health and Health Planning Council and the NYS Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council. He is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He is a distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. A past Board Chair of the United States Anti‐Doping Agency and the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Dr. Brown has served in advisory capacity to many federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases. His current responsibilities include supervising medical care, teaching health professionals, and conducting biomedical and behavioral research. Dr. Brown’s scientific contributions have focused upon the sequellae of addiction and improving treatment of substance use disorders, resulting in over 200 peer‐reviewed articles, chapters and published abstracts, reflecting investigator‐initiated and collaborative research.
  • Jeff Crandall, PhD
    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.
  • Christina Mack, PhD, MSPH
    Dr. Christina Mack is Director of Epidemiology and Health Outcomes at Quintiles, responsible for providing scientific leadership on observational research studies and methods initiatives. Dr. Mack leads Quintiles’ Injury Surveillance & Analytics team, delivering injury analytics and trend analyses for the NFL and NBA. Dr. Mack is a recognized expert in the safety and effectiveness of new medical devices and pharmaceutical products, sports injury surveillance methods, and methodologic approaches to account for missing data in observational research. She focuses much of her work on the use of electronic health record systems and claims data for research, with specific focus in pharmacoepidemiology methods, injury epidemiology, oncology, and infectious disease. Dr. Mack holds Ph.D. and master’s degrees in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a degree in computer science engineering from the University of Notre Dame. She holds an academic appointment as adjunct Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and serves on the Advisory Board of the Carolina Health Informatics Program. Dr. Mack has published manuscripts in leading journals and is a coauthor of the landmark Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) publication "Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes: A User's Guide" on the topics of designing registries for studies of medical devices, selection of data elements for observational research, missing data, and registry networks. She is a regular speaker at conferences as well as public and academic forums on epidemiologic methods, use of existing data for research and careers in research.
  • Nancy Dreyer, PhD, MPH
    Dr. Nancy Dreyer brings more than 30 years of epidemiologic research experience to her role as Senior Vice President and Global Chief of Scientific Affairs at Quintiles where she conducts research on the safety, effectiveness, and value of medical treatments. She also leads programs on sports injury analytics for two professional sports leagues in the United States. She is widely known for her work as senior editor of “Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes: A User’s Guide,” published by the US Agency for Research on Healthcare and Quality, now in its third edition and available in Chinese and Korean. Other notable work on quality includes her leadership of the GRACE Initiative for Good Research Practices for Observational Studies of Comparative Effectiveness, which has endorsements from the European Medicines Agency and the national payer for the UK, among others (www.graceprinciples.org). She advises the FDA through her participation on the US National Evaluation System for Health Technology Planning Board and has worked closely with the European Medicines Agency in evaluating new uses for registries and newer methods for pharmacovigilance. She is a Fellow of the International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology and former director of that society as well as the Drug Information Association. She maintains an academic affiliation as an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill, and is a member of the Editorial Board of the Chinese Journal of Pharmacoepidemiology as well as an Advisor to the Center of Postmarketing Safety Evaluation at Peking University Health Science Center in China.
  • Rich Kent, PhD
    Dr. Richard Kent is a Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia and Deputy Director of the UVA Center for Applied Biomechanics. Over the course of his 20-year career, Dr. Kent has published over 200 articles on the biomechanics of injury and the design and assessment of injury prevention countermeasures. His research interests include experimental design and the development of test and analysis methods for relating mechanical loads to injury risk, and the use of that knowledge to improve the effectiveness of safety equipment. Dr. Kent has consulted to the NFL Player Health & Safety Committees since 2008. His background as an international expert in automotive crash injury prevention has informed the league’s research to improve assessment tools for sports injury protection equipment. Dr. Kent chaired the NFL Taskforce on the Development of Recommended Practices for Gameday Fields and has led the development of assessment methods for NFL shoulder pads, thigh pads, knee pads, and footwear, in addition to his ongoing work with the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee. Dr. Kent is a past Director and now Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers, and a member of the Stapp Advisory Committee.
  • John Lombardo, MD
    Dr. John Lombardo has served as the NFL’s drug advisor for anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs since 1990. He is also a Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Ohio State University Medical School and Medical Director of the Max Sports Medicine Institute in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Lombardo previously served as Team Physician to the Ohio State University football team and Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team, and acted as advisor to both the NCAA and United States Olympic Committee. As a practicing physician who has been involved with high school, college and professional athletics for more than 27 years, he has considerable experience in understanding trends and issues in the use of performance enhancing substances among adolescents and athletes.