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NFL Health and Safety Committee


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.



Dr. Robert Anderson (Co-Chairman, Musculoskeletal Committee)

Dr. Anderson serves as an assistant team physician to the Green Bay Packers and is a partner at Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine and Orthopedics. He is fellowship trained in foot and ankle disorders (Dr John Gould, Milwaukee WI '88) with a large experience in sport related injuries. He is co-chair of the NFL's Musculoskeletal Committee, overseeing all orthopaedic injuries and research in professional football. He previously served as the Chairman of the Foot and Ankle Subcommittee for the NFL. 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. Prior to his work with the Packers, he served as a team orthopedist to the Carolina Panthers from 2000-2017 and was the founding orthopaedic surgeon of the O.L. Miller Foot and Ankle Institute of OrthoCarolina in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he practiced starting in 1989. He also served as faculty to the Fellowship Program at OrthoCarolina, was 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.


Dr. Robert Brophy (Vice Chairman, Musculoskeletal Committee)

Dr. Robert Brophy is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine. He graduated from Stanford University with bachelors' degrees in electrical engineering and economics and a master's degree in industrial engineering while playing on the men's varsity soccer team. After earning his MD from the Washington University School of Medicine, he completed his orthopedic surgery residency and sports medicine fellowship training at The Hospital for Special Surgery. Since returning to Washington University to join the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, his clinical and academic focus is on sports medicine injuries of the knee and shoulder. He served as a team physician for the St. Louis Rams until their relocation to Los Angeles. He has authored or co-authored over 170 peer reviewed articles, with peer-reviewed grants from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation and a number of research related distinctions, including the AOSSM NCAA Research Award and Cabaud Memorial Award, the Lee T. Ford Award from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the Washington University School of Medicine, and the Arthur C. Rettig Award from the NFL Physicians Society. He has been an International Cartilage Repair Society Traveling Fellow, an American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons-American Orthopaedic Association (AOA) North American Traveling Fellow, an AOSSM-European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery & Arthroscopy Traveling Fellow and an AOA ABC Traveling Fellow and is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Dr. Javier Cárdenas (Vice Chairman, Head, Neck and Spine Committee)

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.


Elliott Hershman, MD (Chairman Emeritus)

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.

Dr. Richard Hinton Headshot

Dr. Richard Hinton (Vice Chairman, Research and Innovation Committee)

Richard Y. Hinton, MD, MPH, PT, is the Medical Director of MedStar Sports Medicine, Director of the MedStar Sport Medicine Fellowship Program, and an attending orthopaedic surgeon at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Hinton's practice is concentrated on knee and shoulder conditions and involves athletes at the recreational, scholastic, collegiate, and professional levels of play. Dr. Hinton specializes in ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) reconstruction and complex revision surgery. He has a special interest in pediatric and adolescent sports medicine, injury epidemiology, and sport and culture in American society.

Having trained at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Margaret Moore Scholar 1981) and the University of Virginia (Eddie Wojecki award NATA 1983), Dr. Hinton began his sports medicine career as a physical therapist and certified athletic trainer. He then received his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (AOA 1990) and residency training in orthopaedic surgery at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. He completed fellowship training in both pediatric orthopaedic surgery and adult sports medicine at these same institutions. He then received his Master of Public Health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins with a concentration in epidemiology and injury prevention.

Dr. Hinton has served as a team physician for the NFL Baltimore Ravens, Towson University, Loyola University, Morgan State University, the Women's US National Lacrosse Team, and a number of scholastic and youth organizations. He is an executive board member of US Lacrosse's Sports Science Committee and director of the nation's leading lacrosse-specific sports medicine program at MedStar Health. He serves as Vice Chair of the NFL's Research and Innovations Committee. He has served as president of the Maryland Orthopaedic Association and held membership on various AOSSM committees, as well as the Maryland Board of Physicians Athletic Trainers Oversight Committee. Dr. Hinton has authored numerous articles in the areas of injury epidemiology, lacrosse sports medicine, ACL injury, and reconstruction and knee conditions in the skeletally immature.

Dr. Matt Matava (Chairman, Research and Innovation Committee)

Matthew Matava, M.D. is currently a Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Physical Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis where he is also Chief of the Sports Medicine Service. Dr. Matava earned his Medical Degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Six-Year Combined B.A./M.D. Program. He completed his internship and orthopedic surgery residency at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, followed by a fellowship in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery at the Cincinnati Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. He is the recipient of several research awards including the AAOS Kappa Delta Award, the AOSSM O'Donoghue Award and the NCAA Research Award, and he is a member of Alpha Omega Medical Honor Society. Dr. Matava is currently the Medical Director of the NHL's St. Louis Blues and has cared for team for the past 24 years. He was the Head Team Physician for the St. Louis Rams for 16 years and was president of the National Football League Physicians Society from 2013-2015. He is currently the Head Team Physician for Division II Lindenwood University and has been the Head Team Physician for the Washington University Varsity Athletic Program since 1996. Dr. Matava has authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters dealing with orthopedic sports medicine topics. In 2019 he was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Dr. Matava specializes in sports-related injuries in adults and children. Special interests include ligament injuries of the knee, meniscal repair and transplantation; articular cartilage injuries of the knee, and athletic injuries of the shoulder including instability and rotator cuff issues.


Dr. Thom Mayer (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.


Dr. Allen Sills (NFL CMO, Chairman, Health and Safety Committee)

Dr. Allen Sills is the NFL's Chief Medical Officer (CMO), a full-time position dedicated to advancing the health and safety of the sport of football. He became the NFL's first CMO in March 2017, joining the league from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. As a neurosurgeon specializing in the treatment of athletes, Dr. Sills continues to serve at Vanderbilt as a Professor of Neurological Surgery and the Founder and Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center. As the NFL's CMO, Dr. Sills works closely with team medical staffs across the league, the NFL Players Association and its advisors, and the many medical and scientific experts who comprise the NFL's medical committees. He coordinates with these medical experts to lead the league's efforts to make advances, on and off the field, to protect players from unnecessary risk through rule changes, evolution of equipment, and robust injury reduction plans. Dr. Sill spearheaded the league's Injury Reduction Plan—a three-pronged approach aiming to reduce the incidence of concussions—which led to a 24 percent drop in reported concussions during the 2018 season. The 2019 season saw reported concussion numbers remain statistically similar. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Sills has led the NFL's response, coordinating with the NFLPA, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NFL Medical Committee members, and the NFL and NFLPA's experts at Infection Control for Sports ("ICS") (formerly known as the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network or "DICON"). Their recommendations have informed the development of the league's COVID-related player safety protocols—from testing and exposure mitigation to equipment and medical ethics—which meet or exceed state and local orders. Dr. Sills is an active researcher, having published over 170 scientific articles and presentations, including over 40 in the last five years on the topic of sports concussion. He is a member of the Concussion in Sport Group, which publishes international standards regarding concussion in sport. Dr. Sills is also a fellow of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American College of Surgeons. Before joining the NFL, Dr. Sills served as a consulting neurosurgeon for the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, the NHL's Nashville Predators, the US Equestrian Foundation, and the athletic programs at Vanderbilt University, Belmont University and Mississippi State University. He also served as an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant on the NFL sidelines, and as a neurological consultant to the NCAA and the International Equestrian Foundation (FEI). Dr. Sills previously served as the Founder and Executive Director of the Memphis Regional Brain Tumor Center; the Director of the Neuroscience Institute at Methodist University Hospital, Memphis; an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Memphis and the Semmes-Murphey Clinic; and as Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Sills graduated summa cum laude from Mississippi State University with a degree in engineering and received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also went on to complete his internship in General Surgery, his residency training in Neurological Surgery and an NIH-funded Neuro-Oncology Fellowship. He serves on the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County Tennessee, and has served as a youth baseball coach for more than 20 years. Dr. Sills and his wife Shawne live in Tennessee and have four children.

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Dr. Nicholas Theodore (Chairman, Head, Neck and Spine Committee)

Dr. Nicholas Theodore is the Donlin M. Long Professor of Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics and Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Until June 2016, he was the Volker K. H. Sonntag Endowed Chair and Chief of the Spine Section in the Division of Neurological Surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. During this time he was also the team neurosurgeon for the Arizona Cardinals as well as a consultant to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Coyotes. He graduated from Cornell University, where he was the recipient of a Cornell Tradition Academic Fellowship. He attended medical school at Georgetown University, where he graduated with honors. After completing his internship at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Dr. Theodore served as a Senior General Medical Officer with the United States Marine Corps in Okinawa, Japan. Dr. Theodore completed his neurosurgical residency and fellowship in spinal surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute. After completing his residency in 2001, Dr. Theodore served as Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery at Naval Medical Center San Diego, overseeing the largest neurosurgery complement in the Navy. In 2003 he rejoined the faculty at Barrow Neurological Institute and remained there until he was recruited to become the Director of the Neurosurgical Spine Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is the author of over 200 scientific publications and the recipient of many research awards including the Mayfield and Tasker Awards as well as being awarded a prestigious RO-1 grant by the National Institutes of Health. He was recently awarded a DOD grant for the study of a novel therapy for acute spinal cord injury. Dr. Theodore's area of focus includes brain and spinal cord injury, minimally invasive surgery, and robotics. In 2014 he sold Excelsius Surgical, a robotics company that he co-founded with Dr. Neil Crawford to Globus Medical. The device received FDA clearance in August 2017 and is now in clinical use. Dr. Theodore is a Diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery. He has been heavily involved in injury prevention and worked on the development of Barrow Brainbook, a statewide concussion education program in Arizona. In addition, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors at ThinkFirst, an international injury prevention organization.


Dr. John York

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


Dr. Lawrence Brown

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.


Dr. Jeff Crandall

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.


Dr. Christina Mack

Dr. Christina Mack is Director of Epidemiology and Health Outcomes at IQVIA (formerly 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.