The NFL Research and Innovation Advisory Panel provides strategic review of NFL-supported research and provides oversight and input on research programs and protocols. The panel works to identify new opportunities and create pathways to evaluate new innovations and inventions.


  • Matthew Matava, MD (Chairman)
  • Mitch Berger, MD, FACS, FAANS (Vice Chairman)
    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.
  • Dallas Hack, MD, MPH
  • Richard Hinton, MD, MPH, PT
  • Timothy McAdams, MD
  • Elizabeth Nabel, MD
    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. 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.
  • Kurt Spindler, MD
    Dr. Kurt Spindler is the Vice Chairman of Research in the Orthopaedic & Rheumatologic Institute, the Director of Orthopaedic Clinical Outcomes, and the Academic Director of Cleveland Clinic Sports Health. Dr. Spindler joined Cleveland Clinic after 23 years as Head Team Physician, Director of Sports Medicine, and Vice Chairman of Orthopaedics at Vanderbilt University. He focuses on knee ligament reconstruction, arthroscopic surgery of the knee and evaluation and treatment of sports musculoskeletal injuries. Dr. Spindler earned his M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and remained at Penn to serve a General Surgery Internship, a year of Orthopaedic research and an Orthopaedic Surgery residency. He then completed a Sports Medicine/Orthopaedics fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation before going to Vanderbilt in 1991 as assistant professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. At Vanderbilt, he implemented the Multi-center Orthopaedic Outcomes Network (MOON), an evidence-based medicine effort he thought up during his fellowship. He also serves as grant reviewer for the NIH and chairman of the Grant Review Committee of the National Football League.