Recently, the NFL, the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainer Society (PFATS) announced the inaugural class of students participating in the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative. As part of that, the Rams will have Kadarius Burgess and Felipe Ocampo, both students at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, complete clinical rotations with their medical staff this upcoming season.
"As a young person who was afforded the opportunity to spend time with an NFL club and be exposed to the medical staffs and all they do, I was inspired to pursue a career in athletic training," said Reggie Scott, PFATS President and Los Angeles Rams Vice President, SportsMedicine and Performance. "Today, I am thrilled to be able to give back to the medical students and host two of them this fall as well as have them learn from my PFATS colleagues."
Burgess and Ocampo are two of 14 students selected by their respective Historically Black College and University (HBCU) medical schools to participate in the program with club medical staffs this fall. Students' clinical rotations will focus on primary care sports medicine and/or orthopedic surgery while being embedded within the medical staff of one of eight NFL teams: The Falcons, Bengals, Chargers, Rams, Giants, 49ers, Titans and Commanders.
"I am grateful and excited to be participating in the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Elective," Burgess said. "This is an amazing opportunity which perfectly aligns with my career goals in orthopedic surgery. I am excited to learn from world class athletes and the experts who work together to care for them on and off the field. I think this experience will help inspire more youth of color who are under-represented in careers like medicine and further sports medicine, pursue such careers by seeing people who look like them achieve these goals."
"My biggest hope through this experience is to inspire youth, especially those from under-represented backgrounds to pursue professions like medicine where they can do incredible things such as sports medicine with the NFL," Ocampo said. "Growing up, I never thought I could become a doctor. I didn't know any doctors, let alone how to become one. I would have never thought I would be in the position I am today getting this opportunity to spend some time working alongside the LA Rams medical team."
The one-month clinical rotations start as the regular season begins in September and will have students observing and participating in the care of NFL players. Students will also work directly with and under the supervision of the orthopedic team physicians, primary care team physicians and athletic trainers to gain basic medical knowledge and exposure to patient care in sports medicine.
Students will also learn about return-to-play guidelines and on-field treatment considerations for players, and are allowed to attend home games and be present on the sideline for observation. By the end of the rotation, students will understand the basics of care provided to NFL players through orthopedic, primary care sports medicine and athletic training perspective.