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Steelers take part in NFL diversity program

The NFL once again joined forces with the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) to announce the league-wide expansion of the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative.

The Steelers are one of the teams participating, with Faith Kehinde, who is in her third year at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, taking part. Kehinde, who is from Reading, Pa., is focused on orthopedics and will do a one month clinical rotation with the team's medical staff.

"I'm incredibly excited to have been chosen for this program, looking forward to learning from the best of the best," said Kehinde.

This is the third year for the initiative, which aims to increase and diversify the pipeline of students interested in pursuing careers in sports medicine to help make a positive impact in the medical field and help to diversify NFL club medical staffs over time.

"The NFL and clubs across the league are excited to welcome this year's class of medical students and offer them the unique opportunity to complete clinical rotations with NFL club medical staffs," said Dr. Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer. "We have an impressive group of participants joining us from a growing roster of medical schools this season as we continue our efforts to bring interested diverse and underrepresented medical students into the sports medicine professional pipeline."

From the NFL:

Students from 21 medical schools have been matched with NFL clubs across the league for one-month clinical rotations focused on primary care sports medicine and/or orthopedic surgery. The rotations provide students with the opportunity to learn from and work directly with club medical staff as they deliver care to players across the league. Student clinical rotations will begin as training camps open for the 2024 NFL season next month.

During their one-month rotations, students will observe and participate in the care of NFL players, working directly with and under the supervision of the orthopedic team physicians, primary care team physicians, athletic trainers, dietitians, mental health clinicians, strength & conditioning coaches, equipment managers, and others to gain medical knowledge and exposure to patient care in sports medicine. Students will also become familiar with return-to-play protocols and on-field treatment considerations for NFL players. By the end of the rotation, students will understand the basic elements of all facets of care provided to NFL players from an orthopedic, primary care sports medicine and athletic training perspective.

Since expanding the initiative league-wide last season, the NFL has been working to include additional disciplines and roles from the its player care "Team Behind the Team" in the program, including physician assistants, certified athletic trainers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nutritionists and behavioral health clinicians. The NFL, NFLPS and PFATS are also partnering with clubs to help expose high school students to the field of sports medicine through community events.

The Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative is part of the league's broader commitment to ensure that staff and leaders in the league office and at NFL clubs reflect the racial and gender makeup of America.