Feinberg’s Hunt Batjer Named One of NFL’s New Co-Chairs of Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee
|H. Hunt Batjer, MD. Michael J. Marchese Professor of Neurological Surgery and chair in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Neurological Surgery.
H. Hunt Batjer, MD, Michael J. Marchese Professor of Neurological Surgery and chair in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Neurological Surgery, was recently named by Commissioner Roger Goodell as one of the new co-chairs of the National Football League (NFL) Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected for this important role by Commissioner Goodell,” Batjer says. “I take this responsibility very seriously and find it a great fit joining my passions for neuroscience and athletics. The players â€• past, present, and future â€• and the public can be assured that our committee will be vigilant in working to make the game safer through injury prevention, education, treatment, and advocacy.”
As co-chair of the committee, Batjer will assist in strengthening the NFL’s leadership role in research, education, prevention, and treatment of head and spine injuries in sports. Batjer will also seek to advance the mission of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee. For more information regarding the mission, click here. Batjer, and co-chair Richard G. Ellenbogen, MD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, will also be responsible for appointing other members of the committee.
“Commissioner Goodell has really given us free rein to recruit and attract the best people in science that can be brought to bear on these problems and questions,” says Batjer.
While the focus of their research explorations will be on safety of NFL players, Batjer says that the findings regarding how to make contact sports safer will apply to non-professional sports and even children’s athletics.
“This is a great opportunity to take a fresh look at the science that we have behind NFL policies and engage in proactive activities like longitudinal assessments of athletes throughout their careers and beyond that will allow us to discover new knowledge,” says Batjer.
Batjer anticipates that a number of his colleagues from Northwestern will be involved in the projects that the committee initiates, including materials sciences experts from the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science who can assist in developing technology like nanomaterials in order to improve the safety of athletic equipment by making impacts safer on the head and spine.
“We also have plans for genetic testing and detailed neurocognitive outcomes assessment, which will test the impact of concussions,” Batjer adds.
Batjer joined Northwestern in 1995 from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he was professor of neurological surgery and was twice voted outstanding teacher. He attended the University of Texas on a baseball scholarship and was drafted as a pitcher by the Baltimore Orioles. Batjer is a graduate of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.
“I was a former athlete and have been involved in sports all my life,” Batjer adds. “Sports define so many young lives. You learn other life lessons that you cannot learn in the classroom.”
Batjer is also past president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and Society of University Neurosurgeons and past chair of the American Board of Neurological Surgery. He is currently vice president of the Neurosurgical Society of America.
Batjer hopes the work done by the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee will effect policy and directly influence the Chicago area communities.