James E. Voos, MD Named Vice-President of the NFL Physicians Society

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Innovations in Orthopaedics | Summer 2022

As University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center enters its ninth year as the official health care partner of the Cleveland Browns, Head Team Physician James E. Voos, MD, was recently elected Vice President of the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS). He will work alongside newly elected President Tim McAdams, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Stanford Health Care and Head Team Physician and Medical Director for the San Francisco 49ers.

James E. Voos, MDJames E. Voos, MD

“This is an exciting opportunity to serve under Dr. McAdams as we continue to advance health and safety initiatives in professional football and contribute to winning seasons in whatever way we can,” says Dr. Voos, Chair of the UH Department of Orthopedics. “University Hospitals' association with the NFL has provided a tremendous platform for us to collaborate with sports medicine leaders across the country and allowed us to elevate our understanding of injury prevention and treatment.”

Following Dr. McAdams’ two-year term, Dr. Voos will begin his term as President of the NFLPS in 2024. Founded in 1966, the society is made up of 192 team doctors committed to providing unparalleled medical care to more than 1,600 players and direction to athletic trainers across 32 NFL teams.

At the society’s annual meeting, held during this year’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, University Hospitals experts presented original research on the prevalence of tibial fracture in NFL athletes. Published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, the retrospective review tracked NFL athletes who sustained tibial fractures between 2013 and 2019. During that five-year period, researchers identified 64 tibial fractures in 60 athletes. They determined that the fractures most often occurred in defensive secondary athletes or as the result of direct tackling impact. While the median time lost to injury was 74 days, it jumped to 232 days for injuries requiring surgery vs. 56 days when athletes received conservative management. “Tibial fractures are an uncommon but severe injury in NFL athletes, resulting in extended loss of play,” says Dr. Voos. “More study is warranted to manage expectations and safely return athletes to the field.”

Since first partnering with the Cleveland Browns in 2014, University Hospitals has presented novel research at each NFLPS annual meeting. Under the leadership of Dr. Voos and his team of physicians, the Browns were the first NFL team to publish findings on the potential for wearable radio-frequency identification (RFID) trackers to predict soft tissue injuries. “This technology measures an athlete’s speed and movement profiles in real-time,” he says. “Our trainers monitor the data and adjust workloads if they determine a player is at risk. When a player is coming back from injury, it allows us to return them to practice schedules in a sophisticated and measured manner.”

Every year, team physicians evaluate and update training practices, player equipment and efficiency of evaluating injuries. For example, Dr. Voos explains that instant game footage review is enhancing injury analysis. “By the time I examine a patient on the field, one of our physicians has completed a sidelines review of the injury, so we are able to make a more rapid diagnosis,” he says.

The Next Play

At this year’s combine, Dr. Voos was named the 2023 co-course director for the nation’s most prominent football sports medicine course, sponsored by the NFL, NFLPS and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM™). Additionally, he and his team will continue to publish meaningful research and seek opportunities to improve player safety. “Earning the players’ trust is the most important aspect of our relationship with the Browns organization,” says Dr. Voos. “Through our actions on and off the field, we strive to establish a personal relationship with each player and demonstrate that we have their best interests in mind as we work to foster a safer environment on the practice field and game day.”

For more information, please contact Dr. Voos at James.Voos@UHhospitals.org.

Contributing Expert:
James E. Voos, MD
Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Jack and Mary Herrick Distinguished Chair, Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
University Hospitals Cleveland
Charles H. Herndon Professorship and Chair
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Head Team Physician, Cleveland Browns
Medical Director, Cleveland Ballet

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