NEW YORK (AP) — This season, 14 historically black college and university medical students will work for NFL clubs for the first time.
Students come from four of the nation’s HBCU medical schools and will work with eight different teams. Teams include: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Rams, LA Chargers, New York Giants, San Francisco, Tennessee and Washington.
Morehouse School of Medicine’s Paolo Gilleran and Eddie Gonti will work with the Falcons, while Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science’s Cadarius Burgess and Felipe Ocampo will assist the Rams’ staff.
Four students from the Howard University College of Medicine were selected. Regan Burgess will be with the Bengals, Jason Moore with the Chargers, Justin Moore with the Commanders and Alexandra Cancio-Bella with the Giants.
The 49ers will have two contributors: Morehouse’s Omolayo Dada and Mehari College of Medicine’s Andrew Knuckle. Two more Meharry students will be with the Titans in Yomiyou Geleta and Kelsey Henderson.
A joint program with the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) aims to diversify the sports medicine staff, including the NFL.
A study examining the diversity of medical students shows that black medical students make up only 7.3% of the total in this country. This number has increased by less than 1% over the past 40 years and is significantly lower than the 13.4% of the US black population. The NFL is almost 70% black players.
“My biggest hope through this experience is to inspire young people, especially underrepresented ones, to go into professions like medicine where they can do incredible things like sports medicine with the NFL,” Ocampo said.
One-month clinical rotations will begin with the start of the 2022 season in September. Students will work under the supervision of orthopedic physicians, primary care physicians, and athletic trainers.
“As an athlete and a person who truly loves sports, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside top athletes and qualified doctors,” said Dada. “This initiative allows me to apply my clinical skills and knowledge at the highest level in sports medicine.”