Injuries are common and often unavoidable in the sport of the National Football League. Because keeping players healthy and on the field is the most important thing to keeping the game going, imaging takes center stage on and off the field by diagnosing player injuries faster and with more accuracy than ever. In this article, we’ll discuss medical imaging in the NFL and the important role it plays.
Increased Awareness of Imaging Benefits
Medical imaging plays a crucial role in quickly and accurately diagnosing concussions, a common football head injury that’s gained scrutiny over the past few years in the NFL. Since then, the league has created stricter rules to determine protocol after a player suffers a concussion, which includes additional imaging devices on hand for players. If a concussion is suspected, players are subjected to neurological testing on the sidelines. NFL radiology has also evolved in terms of protocols and the images they are able to obtain. Increased emphasis and awareness around concussions have imaging experts exploring injuries beyond orthopedic.
Imaging Personnel on Stadium Staff
Most teams have X-ray technologists on standby at the stadiums during games to conduct imaging on both the home team and the opponents. While most teams don’t have an onsite radiologist, each usually has a dedicated offsite radiologist that is “on call” to read the images and make quick diagnoses before, after, and during the games.
Modern Imaging Capabilities
For several years now it’s been standard protocol for every team in the NFL to have an x-ray machine at stadium. Some machines are more advanced than others, but all follow today’s modern imaging guidelines. Many have also begun using digital X-rays because of the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of digital X-ray imaging, which allows technologists to retrieve a high-resolution digital image in just a few seconds, compared to minutes. As awareness about the importance on onsite imaging grows, some teams are starting to take things further, adding MRI machines or other medical imaging technology onsite in addition to the traditional x-ray machine.
Stadium Imaging Suites
Suite is a perfect name for these rooms, which are outfitted not just with imaging technology, but also with comfortable seating and TVs to watch the games. Most imaging suites are also guarded by security to prevent people from wandering in or reporters from trying to get the latest scoop on player injuries. Imaging suites not only serve players, but also players’ families, coaches, and coaches’ families while they are waiting for the results of an injury scan.
Imaging technology plays an essential role in ensuring that NFL players can stay safe while playing a sport we all love. Modern radiology makes it possible for radiologists to make fast and accurate diagnosis when it counts the most.