NCAA Plans to Hire Chief Medical Officer

The NCAA announced today that it plans to hire a chief medical officer within the national office to lead a new “Center of Excellence” that will serve as a national resource to provide expert safety, health and medical expertise.

How much of a factor was the increasing litigation around concussions in the decision to make this announcement?

That’s unclear. The NCAA didn’t mention concussions, opting for a more generic explanation:

“The chief medical officer will be responsible for the establishment of the new Center, as well as oversight of all student-athlete health and safety initiatives. The individual also will coordinate with the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.

“The chief medical officer also will oversee the current national office health and safety staff. The vice president level position will report directly to NCAA Chief Operating Officer Jim Isch.”

The Center of Excellence’s mission is to:

(1) Serve as the principal authority for all student-athlete health conditions, medical care and sports safety issues in support of the NCAA mission.

(2) Foster a national approach to research.

(3) Facilitate communication and collaboration across the NCAA and among key health and safety stakeholders.

(4) Develop national strategies, resources and tools to address identified gaps and challenges affecting student-athlete health and safety.

“This shift to a more active, thought-leader approach will significantly raise the profile of our health and safety efforts not only at the national office but with our membership,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “It’s truly a credit to the hard work and real progress that the health and safety team has made in recent years.”

The NCAA said it wants to hire the chief medical officer by the fall of 2012.

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