Atlantic Coast Conference Mandatory College Football Medical Observer. A Necessary Addition to the Preexisting Medical Team?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Some NCAA conferences now require a press box-based Medical Observer for all football games to identify injuries missed by on-field providers. The objective of this study was to determine whether a Medical Observer identified injuries missed by the on-field medical personnel. METHODS: This was a comparative observational study of injury identification methods which was done at nine NCAA football games. The athletes on a single institution's varsity football team participated. Eight games and one bowl game were studied. Observers were sports medicine Fellows (Orthopaedic, Primary Care). Injury logs were kept by the Medical Observer to document game day injuries. The athletic training staff collected injury reports in the days following games. These were compared with game day injury logs to identify any injuries that were not reported to the medical staff during competition. RESULTS: A total of 41 game injuries were identified (4.56 injuries/ game). 29 injuries (29/41; 71%) were identified by both the sideline medical providers and the Observer, 12 (12/41; 29%) were identified by only the sideline medical providers and no injuries were identified by only the Observer. A total of 95 game-related injuries were evaluated in the training room on the day after each game. 27 injuries (27/95; 28%) had been identified during the game (9 [33%] by the sideline medical team and 18 [67%] by both the sideline medical team and the Observer). Fourteen game injuries were not severe enough to require care the following day. There were 68 (68/95; 72%) delayed self-reported injuries treated by the training room staff the next day. CONCLUSIONS: A press box-based Medical Observer did not identify any injuries missed by the on-field medical staff. This study did, however, identify a large number of unreported game-day injuries that were treated the following day.Level of Evidence: II.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bailey, JR; Christensen, T; Oshlag, BL; Dale, KM; Kim, C; Little, BA; Brown, K; Beatty, K; Zarzour, R; Bytomski, JR; Amendola, A; Moorman, CT

Published Date

  • 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 115 - 120

PubMed ID

  • 32742218

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7368541

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1555-1377


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States