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Breaking News: NFL Names Dr. Allen Sills Chief Medical Officer

Social Responsibility Report NFL Media via flickr


March 26, 2017

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the NFL has named Dr. Allen Sills Chief Medical Officer.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has appointed esteemed neurosurgeon Dr. Allen Sills Chief Medical Officer to advance the NFL’s Health and Safety efforts.

Dr. Sills comes to the NFL from Vanderbilt University where he is Professor of Neurological Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation. He is also the Founder and Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center. He has specialized in the treatment of athletes and will strengthen the NFL’s ongoing efforts to advance the health and safety of the sport. The NFLPA and its advisors, team medical staffs across the league, and the many medical and scientific experts who comprise the NFL’s medical committees and guide their health and research efforts will all work closely with Dr. Sills.

The appointment comes after a rigorous search that was conducted by a premier panel of health and medical experts led by Dr. Betsy Nable, Chief Health and Medical Advisor to the NFL and President of Brigham Health. Other members of the panel included Dr. Rob Heyer; President of the NFL Physicians Society and Team Internist for the Carolina Panthers, Ronnie Barnes; Senior Vice President, Medical Services and Head Athletic Trainer for the New York Giants, Dr. Robert Cantu; Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy Boston University School of Medicine, and Peter Foss; GE Healthcare.

The panel worked closely with Jeff Miller; NFL Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives, and Dr. John York; Co-Chairman, San Francisco 49ers and Chairman of the NFL Owners’ Health and Safety Advisory Committee. They also consulted the NFLPA, including interviewing the final candidates. He will be reporting to Jeff Miller.

Commissioner Roger Goodell had the following to say regarding Dr. Sills appointment.

“There is no higher priority for the NFL than player health and safety and we continually seek to raise our standards and then surpass them. We sought a highly-credentialed physician and leader with experience as a clinician and researcher, and Dr. Sills’ extensive experience caring for athletes makes him the right choice for this important position.”

Dr. John York stated an intensive search was done to find the right person for the new position.

“We conducted an intensive international search which included many leading experts in sports medicine. Dr. Sills stood out among the highly qualified applicants.”

Dr. Betsy Nable was impressed by all the candidates however, Dr. Sills’ experience stood out.

“I have been impressed by the talent and experience of the candidates I have met during this process. Dr. Sills has years of experience on the frontlines of both research and patient care, and I am confident that Dr. Sills will use this platform to continue his work to improve the sports health and safety in the NFL and for all athletes.”

Dr. Robert Cantu calls the appointment of Dr. Sills a touchdown for the NFL.

“Hiring Dr. Sills is a touchdown for the NFL. He is an international leader for his work on concussions in sports. I look forward to working with him to further the health and safety of sports.”

Dr. Sills has worked with numerous professional and collegiate sports programs throughout his brilliant career. Along with providing care for NFL players on the sidelines as an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant, he has served as a neurological consultant to the NCAA and the International Equestrian Foundation. He has also worked as a consulting neurosurgeon for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, the NHL’s Nashville Predators, the US Equestrian Foundation, and all Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, and Mississippi State University athletic teams.

Dr. Reid Thompson, Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says Allen Sills is an exceptional leader and passionate.

“Allen Sills is an exceptional leader who will bring the perspective of a practicing neurosurgeon to this important position. He is an avid athlete and gifted surgeon with a passion for the care of elite athletes. With a combination of energy, vision, and absolute integrity he is an inspired choice to become the first Chief Medical Officer of the NFL.”

About Dr. Allen Sills

Dr. Allen Sills is an active researcher who has published more than 150 scientific articles and presentations including more than 40 in the last five years on the topic of sports concussions. He is a member of the Concussion in Sports Group which publishes international standards regarding concussions in sports. Dr. Sills is also a fellow of the American Board of Neurological Surgery as well as the American College of Surgeons and currently serves as Section Editor for Sports and Rehabilitation for the journal, Neurosurgery.

He previously served as Director of the Neuroscience Institute at Methodist University Hospital, Memphis; Founder and Executive Director, Memphis Regional Brain Tumor Center; Associate Professor Department of Neurosurgery, College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Memphis and the Semmes-Murphey Clinic; and Chief, Division of Neurosurgery at the Memphis Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center.

He graduated summa cum laude from Mississippi State University with a degree in engineering. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland where he also completed his internship in General Surgery, residency training in Neurological Surgery, and an NIH-funded Neuro-Oncology Fellowship.

Personal Information

The father of four lives in Tennessee with his wife, Shawne. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County Tennessee, and he has served as a youth baseball coach for over 20 years.


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