May 25, 2022 - News

Meharry teams with NFL to diversify sports medicine pipeline

Meharry Medical College

Meharry Medical College. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/The Tennessean/USA Today Network

Meharry Medical College is teaming up with the NFL to try to establish a more diverse pipeline of medical students going into sports medicine.

Why it matters: The new partnership will give students the opportunity to practice sports medicine during a clinical rotation with NFL team medical staff.

  • That's in line with Meharry's mission of increasing diversity across the medical field.

How it works: Meharry and three other historically Black medical colleges are participating in the program along with eight NFL clubs, including the Titans. Participating students will work alongside team doctors on orthopedic and primary care issues.

  • The students will learn about return-to-play guidelines and on-field treatment and may attend home games for observation, per the NFL.
  • The program launches this year with a total of 16 students and will expand in 2023.

By the numbers: The NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) reports that 5% of its members identify as Black and 1% identify as Hispanic.

  • The NFL says a long-term goal of the program is to diversify team medical staff.

What they're saying: "We have significant work to do to ensure that the NFLPS membership more closely mirrors the player population we treat every day," NFLPS president and San Francisco 49ers head team physician Timothy McAdams said in a statement.

  • "It begins here."

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