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NFL Play Smart, Play Safe Research Program

The sports medicine and performance teams at University of Miami and the Miami Dolphins recently partnered on the submission of a grant proposal to the National Football League (NFL) for a funding opportunity as part of the NFL’s Play Smart, Play Safe Research Program. The NFL has identified that hamstring injuries (HSI) are the second leading reason for days lost, trailing only ACL tears. Due to the epidemic of HSI, the NFL’s research program put out a call for submissions for innovative preclinical, translational, and clinical research on the prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and return-to-play of hamstring injuries. Out of 89 submissions for funding, Miami was one of six selected for the final presentation round to the NFL’s scientific advisory board.

Unlike the rash of HSI in the NFL, at the University of Miami, there has been unprecedented success in the primary prevention of HSI. Over the last two years, our football program has had no student-athletes miss a game due to HSI. The success with the Hurricanes football program can be attributed to the use of a multi-factorial and multi-disciplinary approach to the prevention of HSI through movement screening and assessments, workload monitoring and management, exercise and training prescription, and injury risk assessments using mobile health technologies.

The University of Miami sports medicine and performance staff included head football strength and conditioning coach David Feeley and his staff (Jordan Barber, Chas Dodd, Victor Ishmael, Kevin Kroboth); Drs. Thomas Best and Lee Kaplan (UHealth Sports Medicine Institute); Vinny Scavo (Associate Athletic Director – Athletic Training); Luis Feigenbaum (Senior Associate Athletic Director); and Drs. Robert Gailey, Ignacio Gaunaurd, and Jeff Ruiz (Department of Physical Therapy). The Miami Dolphins sports medicine and performance staff working with the Hurricanes on the grant submission included Kyle Johnston (Head Athletic Trainer), Jasmin Grimes (Assistant Athletic Trainer), and Dave Puloka (Head Strength and Conditioning Coach).