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Apr 17, 2013 - TITANS, TEXANS HOST USA FOOTBALL LEADERSHIP FORUMS ... to learn about and discuss health and safety issues and best practices for.
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NFL HEALTH AND SAFETY UPDATE—APRIL 17, 2013 INTERVIEW WITH NY GIANTS VICE PRESIDENT OF MEDICAL SERVICES RONNIE BARNES New York Giants Vice President of Medical Services RONNIE BARNES, a member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, joined the New York Giants in 1976 and has served as the team’s head athletic trainer since 1980. The National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame honoree (Class of 1999) recently addressed various subjects related to player health and safety: On his role as a member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee: Serving on the Committee has become a passion. Working with brilliant scientists from many of our most prestigious universities, the Department of Defense and private laboratories is exciting. We have tremendous resources and talented physicians, athletic trainers and scientists all working for the same cause. I can contribute as someone practicing in the field. I bring my experiences in caring for athletes over the years. I also help develop, implement and teach new protocols and algorithms for managing traumatic brain injury to my staff and other sports medicine professionals around the country. We learn something new every day. The NFL is collaborating with scientists all over the world and to have a front row seat is challenging but invigorating. On advising Giants President & CEO & Competition Committee member John Mara on player health and safety matters: I am very fortunate to have a Competition Committee member in our building. Mr. John Mara is deeply committed to player safety. Our medical staff and coaches can make John aware in real time of our concerns on issues that relate to a safer environment for players in the NFL. John understands the game and has a very keen interest in every facet of professional football, especially the medical and safety aspects of the game. The NFL has committed considerable resources in the area of health and safety. I have an opportunity to provide him with accurate and useful epidemiological data and research on medical and safety issues. On how rules changes, including those recently approved by the Competition Committee, enhance player health and safety: NFL players are bigger, faster and stronger than they were a decade ago and decades before that. I applaud the NFL for the continued scrutiny and rules changes that adapt to the changing kinematics of the game. From unnecessary hits on defenseless players to helmet-to-helmet and crown-of-helmet hits, all of these changes are protective measures for the safety of our players. A comprehensive injury surveillance program and a newly created electronic records system will continue to provide the Competition Committee with data and evidence to continue the evolution of the rules of our game. On the importance of the player-athletic trainer relationship: I view all of the players on our roster as my patients. My relationship with them is rooted in honesty, mutual respect, trust and transparency. Compassion plays a major role in my ability to serve as the player’s advocate related to his medical care. When I establish a rapport with the athlete and earn his confidence, we can have open and honest discussions about his health care. We strive to protect the athlete’s privacy at all times. My role is to ensure that he receives an early and accurate diagnosis and proper evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation. His ability to return to play is based on wellness and protection from further injury. I believe in shared decision-making between the player, his physician and myself. On benefits from an athletic trainer in the press box and access to video on the sideline:

The athletic trainer in the booth has made a radical difference in our ability to recognize injuries in the game that may have been hidden from us prior to its implementation. The spotter affords us the opportunity to have an extra set of eyes above the action, and that has been invaluable. The athletic trainer spotter complements the sideline