NFL Research and Innovation Committee


The NFL Research and Innovation Committee is composed of independent and NFL-affiliated medical professionals and focuses on issues relevant to the health and safety of active NFL players


  • Advise the NFL on research proposal submissions from external sources
  • Identify and critically examine bodies of medical research that impact the health and safety of active NFL players
  • Oversee research when requested by the NFL and its collaborators
  • Analyze injury data and propose interventions
  • Advise the NFL with analyses of new technologies germane to NFL player health and safety

Areas of Focus

Orthopedic research

  • Diagnosis
  • Prevention
  • Treatment

Neurological research

  • Diagnosis
  • Prevention
  • Treatment

Internal/Sports Medicine research

  • Diagnosis
  • Prevention
  • Treatment


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. 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. Having trained at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia, 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 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.

Geoff Baer

Dr. Rebecca Breslow

Dr. Rebecca Breslow is a primary care sports medicine physician and the Medical Director of Musculoskeletal offerings at gWell, a digital health and wellness application. Her work focuses on endurance medicine and Olympic sports, and she has served as a team physician for USA Track & Field and the US Figure Skating Association. In addition to the NFL Research & Innovation Committee, she serves on the Executive Board of the International Institute for Race Medicine, the Medical Committee for the Boston Marathon, and speaks internationally on best practices for medical operations at long distance running events. She was the recipient of the 2020 Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation Endurance Medicine Award, awarded for her research examining medical encounters at the Boston Marathon. A graduate of Yale University and former Fulbright scholar, Dr. Breslow did her medical training at Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women's Hospital, and Boston Children's Hospital. She practiced at Brigham & Women's Hospital from 2010 to 2021 prior to joining gWell.

Dr. Michael Chicoine


Ron Courson

Ron Courson, ATC, PT, NRAEMT, CSCS, currently serves as Executive Associate Athletic Director – Sports Medicine with the University of Georgia Athletic Association. He joined the University of Georgia in May of 1995, after serving four years as Director of Rehabilitation at the University of Alabama. He received his undergraduate degree in education/physical education from Samford University. Courson performed two years of graduate work at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and graduated with honors from the Medical College of Georgia in 1989 with a degree in physical therapy. Ron is additionally a nationally registered advanced emergency medical technician as well as a certified strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Courson has been involved in many athletic training activities including work as an athletic trainer with the U.S. Olympic Team at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea; 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle; 1987 World University Games in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis and the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. He served as the chief athletic trainer for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials as well as the chief athletic trainer for track and field for the 1996 Olympic Games.


Dr. James DuBois (PhD)

James DuBois, PhD, DSc, is the Director of the Bioethics Research Center, the Steven J. Bander Professor of Medical Ethics and Professionalism, and Professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine. DuBois completed his PhD in philosophy at the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein and his DSc in psychology at the University of Vienna in Austria, where he focused on cross-cultural moral psychology. He directs the NIH-funded Professionalism and Integrity in Research Program (PI Program), which offers personalized assessments, a group workshop, and post-workshop coaching calls to help researchers operate professionally in today's complex environments. He is the founding Editor (with Ana Iltis) of Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: A Journal of Qualitative Research, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. He has received more than $11 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to support his research and training programs. He conducts social science research on ethical issues including informed consent, data sharing, organ transplantation, medical business ethics, and the outcomes of ethics education. He has served on committees of the Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science, the American Psychological Association, the National Institutes of Health, and the United Network for Organ Sharing. He is a fellow of the Hastings Center, and has received many awards including the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation John A. Benson Jr., MD Professionalism Article Prize (in 2014 and 2019).

Dallas Hack

Dr. Dallas Hack

Dr. Dallas Hack M.D. served as the Director of the US Army Combat Casualty Care Research Program and Chair of the Joint Program Committee for Combat Casualty Care from 2008 to 2014. He coordinated more than 70% of the DoD trauma research to improve battlefield trauma care of those injured in combat totaling more than $2 billion in grant funding. During that time, the Department of Defense funded the largest Traumatic Brain Injury research program to address the increasing awareness of the massive burden of Traumatic Brain Injury in the military. He held numerous military medical leadership positions including Commander of the NATO Headquarters Healthcare Facility, and Command Surgeon at the strategic level during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. COL(R) Hack received numerous military awards including the Bronze Star, two Legion of Merit awards, and was inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Military Order of Medical Merit. He has a BA from Andrews University, a MPH from Johns Hopkins University, a MD from Loma Linda University, a MSS from the US Army War College, and a CPE from the Certifying Commission in Medical Management. He was recognized as the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by Loma Linda University in May 2015 and is a Fellow in the American College of Military Public Health. He has an appointment from the School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh as Adjunct Professor of Neurosurgery and from Virginia Commonwealth University as an Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. After retiring from military service, Dr Hack has worked with numerous biotechs and non-profits to advance research in Brain Health and transition the progress to improved clinical practice.


Dr. Kurt Spindler

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.