Dr. Betsy Nabel To Join the NFL After All

Despite denying a few early reports last week, Nabel will become the NFL's first Chief Health and Medical Adviser.



Last week, it was reported that the President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Dr. Betsy Nabel, was approached by the NFL to be its first-ever “Chief Medical Officer.” At the time, Nabel denied that she had accepted the position, but did say she was talking to the NFL about joining in an “advisory capacity.” Now, those talks have come to fruition.

The NFL announced Monday that Nabel has been named the league’s first chief health and medical adviser, and will serve as the league’s “senior medical expert.” Although this is a major move, Nabel is staying on as president of BWH. Nabel, who is also a cardiologist and biomedical researcher, has served as the director of the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in the past, and her global efforts go far beyond Boston’s borders. She also helped establish a teaching hospital in Haiti, and is an advocate for providing training and resources for doctors working in countries in need.

“As a life-long football fan, I look forward to working with the NFL in this advisory capacity to create the safest possible environment for NFL players,” Nabel said in a statement. “My first order of business is to review the medical, health, and scientific priorities that the NFL currently has in place, as well as assess the medical protocols and ongoing scientific research collaborations. I see this partnership as a great way to apply the knowledge acquired through the efforts of the NFL to the greater population of professional, amateur, and recreational athletes.”

The NFL says that Nabel will work directly with Commissioner Roger Goodell to provide “strategic input to the NFL’s medical, health, and scientific efforts.” She will also provide insight to the NFL’s medical advisory committees, and help work on player safety, care, and treatment options.

“We are excited to have Dr. Nabel’s insight as we continually seek ways to make our game better and safer,” Commissioner Goodell said in a statement. “The game is safer than it has ever been, but not as safe as it will be with advisors like Dr. Nabel providing expertise.”