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Jets To Take Part in 2013 Medical Experiment

153117338The New York Jets are one of eight teams participating in a pilot medical program. The program will enable teams, during games,  to have access to their players’ entire medical records on the sidelines.

Beginning in 2013, the Steelers, Ravens, Broncos, Texans, Patriots, Giants, Jets and 49ers – will have access to details  such as  X-rays, concussion tests, imaging studies and more on a handheld iPad, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today.

This is all part of the NFL’s continued efforts to increase player safety. If successful, medical records would become widespread and transferable throughout the NFL in 2014. Meaning if a player moves teams, his medical record will move with him.

“Let’s say he starts out with the Rams, and then he’s either cut or traded or leaves as a free agent, goes to the Denver Broncos, then the information will be portable,” said Matthew Matava, head team physician for the St. Louis Rams and president of the NFL Physicians Society. “The Denver doctors will then have any information that was accrued while he was in St. Louis. Like any other electronic medical record, it will be portable with the player and therefore very accurate.”

Teams invest millions in players and do not want to jeopardize their investment by letting a player play through a potential serious injury. Players often attempt to play through pain that could potentially lead to an increase in injury because they fear losing playing time, money, or even their job.

“They’re just trying to do what they can to protect teams,” said former Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Laurent Robinson. “They want to make sure that if a player gets dinged up, they check him right away. Teams are going to know about every injury you have anyway, just based on the medical records. Every time you go in the training room, they write it down for something small.”

Several players, agents and the NFLPA have voiced concern that the widespread sharing of medical records between teams may devalue a player during free agency. However, talking to USA Today the league expressed that they are “still discussing how to handle free agent medical records with the union.”

Since a comprehensive report on each players history is only going to benefit both the player and the team in the long term, we can expect to have widespread use in 2014.

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