Finding ways to enhance player safety, the new XFL has launched a health advisory board. The members of the board consist of experts in neurology, mental health and orthopedics and are considered the top minds in the world today.
In a statement, the XFL announced the hiring of Dr. Julian Bailes, who will serve as Chief Medical Advisor. Other members of the board include Dr. Larry Lemak and Dr. Claudia Reardon. Daniel Wright, the former Head Athletic Trainer for the Milwaukee Brewers, will become the Vice President of Health and Safety. There will be room for more members down the line.
"The health and safety of our players is an important focus on our path to reimagine football and deliver a great product to fans when we kick off in February 2020," XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck stated. "Putting in place the right experts and medical professionals is key. Our health advisory committee will work closely with our football operations department to create protocols and build best practice guidelines that put player health and safety at the forefront of everything we do."
Dr. Bailes has football experience before; he served as team physician of the Pittsburgh Steelers for over ten years. A member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee and Chairman of the Pop Warner Football Medical Advisory Committee, Bailes has also worked for the NCAA for fifteen years. The chairman of NorthShore University HealthSystem's Neurology department, he was featured prominently in Will Smith's 'Concussion' movie in 2015. He was played by Alec Baldwin.
Dr. Lemak founded Lemak Health, an orthopedics and primary care center. He also serves as a member of the Pop Warner Football Medical Advisory Committee. The Medical Director for the NFL's European League for 15 years, the same league Oliver Luck was a part of, Lemak also served as the Medical Director for Major League Soccer. He also founded the National Center for Sports Safety and the Alabama Sports Foundation.
A sports psychiatrist, Dr. Reardon works as an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Psychiatry. While no NFL-related experience, Reardon is considered the top consultant when it comes to mental health in sports. As the sole psychiatrist on the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, she also works with the International Olympic Committee, leading a workgroup called Mental Illness in Elite Athletes.
It is expected that Daniel Wright, an athletic trainer since 1985, will be a part of the hiring process, supervising and evaluating new athletic trainers for the XFL. He became the Athletic Trainer for the Brewers in 2011 after a stint as their Assistant Athletic Trainer and Conditioning Coordinator. He also held positions with the Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. A graduate from the University of Oregon, Wright was the President and co-owner of an athletic injury rehabilitation facility called FitLife Health Systems, Inc.
The relaunched XFL season is expected to start in February of 2020, just a few days after the Super Bowl.