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Behind the Scenes of the NFL Combine


Posted on: Mar 1 2018

Ever wonder what goes on at the NFL Combine?

Every year in March, the NFL holds its scouting combine in Indianapolis. This event showcases physical skills such as speed, agility, and strength for over 300 of this year’s top NFL draft hopefuls. In addition to the physical events such as the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, and three-cone drill, each athlete will have a medical and orthopedic physical exam, which is a crucial part of this event.

NFL team doctors from all 32 teams will work in groups to provide medical and orthopedic physicals to each of the attending athletes. Nashville’s own Dr. David Moore, head team physician to the Tennessee Titans, and Dr. Jeffrey Willers, the Foot and Ankle Consultant to the Titans, are attending again this year.

“The combine is a chance to meet some of the nation’s best athletes, which is an amazing opportunity; however it is also very intense because you have to determine the physical health and history in detail of these players and you are seeing 350 players in four days. There is so much on the line, both for the athletes and for the teams,” said Dr. David Moore.

How do the physicians see 350 athletes over four days?

Each room has a team of physicians from five NFL teams working together. Athletes come through the rooms for their physical exams dressed in only compression shorts, ready to be examined top to bottom. The NFL team physicians work together on the physical exam and review any diagnostic tests such as X-Rays, MRIs, nerve conduction studies, and CT scans of each athlete. The physicals are not pass/fail, but rather each athlete is given a grade based on their health and injury status.

Dr. Jeffrey Willers, who has attended the NFL Combine for over a decade, relates that it’s hard to believe the number of injuries that are assessed over a four day period. There is a vast variety of injuries and patterns seen in these elite athletes, more than a physician would typically see in months of practice.

Even with the amount of injuries these athletes have sustained at this point in their careers, most—due to access to top-notch care—have been able to continue to function at the very highest level. Despite that, a team looking to offer an athlete millions of dollars to play for their organization has the right to know if the athlete has an injury that could affect his potential to continue to play for years to come.

To learn more about Dr. Moore, click here.

To learn more about Dr. Willers, click here.

Posted in: NFL Combine

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