NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The NFL will now partner with Meharry Medical College to immerse students in a sports medicine rotation with professional teams in the 2022 season.
League officials said this week the initiative would work with other Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help diversify the pipeline of talent in sports medicine.
"Increasing diversity across every role in our league and at our clubs is essential. Diversity makes us stronger," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We have an opportunity to help increase the pipeline of diverse sports medicine professionals, which is imperative for us as a league. This initiative is an example of how we can lend our platform for societal benefit. I'm proud that our league can help inspire the next generation of sports medicine professionals."
A total of 16 total students will participate in this inaugural season, two students each at eight participating NFL clubs: Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans and Washington Commanders.
In 2023, the program will expand to recruit students from additional academic institutions and medical disciplines and place those students with medical staff at more NFL clubs.
"We are grateful the NFL is taking measurable steps to diversify the league and specifically recognizes the barriers to the opportunity many minority students face in sports medicine career paths," said Dr. James E. K. Hildreth, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College. "Through this partnership, our students will be afforded the opportunity for exposure to a unique field of medicine that will create new meaningful experiences beneficial to their career advancement."