14 HBCU medical students chosen for NFL diversity initiative
There will be 14 students from Historically Black College and University medical schools working for the first time on the staffs of NFL clubs this season.
The students are coming from the four HBCU medical schools in the country and will be working with eight different teams. The teams include Atlanta, Cincinnati, the Los Angeles Rams, LA Chargers, New York Giants, San Francisco, Tennessee and Washington.
Paolo Gilleran and Eddie Gontee of the Morehouse School of Medicine will work with the Falcons, while Kadarius Burgess and Felipe Ocampo of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science will help the staff of the Rams.
Four Howard University College of Medicine students were chosen. Regan Burgess will be with the Bengals, Jason Moore with the Chargers, Justin Moore with the Commanders and Alexandra Cancio-Bello with the Giants.
The 49ers will have two participants in Omolayo Dada of Morehouse and Andrew Nakla of Meharry Medical College. Two more Meharry students will be with the Titans in Yomiyou Geleta and Kelsey Henderson.
The joint program with the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and Professional Football Athletic Trainer Society (PFATS) aims to diversify staffs across sports medicine, including the NFL.
A study that examines diversity of the medical student population shows Black medical students comprise only 7.3% of the total in this country. That figure has risen less than 1% over the past 40 years and is far lower than the 13.4% Black population in the United States. The NFL has nearly 70% Black players.
“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.
The one-month clinical rotations will begin as the 2022 season gets going in September. Students will work under the supervision of the orthopedic team physicians, primary care team physicians and athletic trainers.
“As an athlete and someone who truly loves sports, I was elated to have the opportunity to work alongside premiere athletes and skilled physicians,” Dada said. “This initiative allows me to apply my clinical skills and knowledge at the highest level in sports medicine.”