The New England Patriots are one of eight teams that will participate in a medical records pilot program next season that will allow team physicians to examine a player’s entire medical record with an iPad while on a sideline, according to the USA Today’s Tom Pelissero. The NFL wants to continue to help improve concussion safety significantly, and having a player’s medical records literally at a team doctor’s fingertips is a step in that direction. It goes beyond concussion safety, though, because this program gives the full details and is beneficial to both the players and the team.
James Bradley is the chairman of the NFL’s medical research committee and is also a surgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He told Pelissero, “If we can just sit him down and say, ‘Look, here’s your balance test and your cognitive skills, your memory, your reaction time.’ Now they’ve got a visual of that, which is a very positive step forward with the players accepting that they have an issue and wanting to get it resolved.”
This new technology can allow teams to more easily underscore the injury at hand and the severity of that in context with a player’s medical history. A stubborn player could realize the importance of sitting out a quarter as a precaution, but, more importantly, this is a way of helping players get in-game, medical advice that is tailored to their health.
The New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, and Denver Broncos are the eight teams participating in this program. Using an iPad to store the records electronically is incredibly easy, and St. Louis Rams head physician Matthew Matava states that it will be easier for teams to transfer a player’s medical history to another team if he is traded or released and signs elsewhere.