Publish Date: 06/03/2019
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa
Stamford, Conn., June 3, 2019 – The XFL has established a health advisory committee comprised initially of experts in neurology, mental health, and orthopedics to support the health and wellness of XFL players.
The founding members of the XFL’s health advisory committee are Dr. Julian Bailes; Dr. Larry Lemak; and Dr. Claudia Reardon, representing the fields of neurosurgery, orthopedics and mental health, respectively. Dr. Bailes will serve as Chief Medical Advisor.
The league also appointed Daniel Wright, most recently the Head Athletic Trainer for the Milwaukee Brewers, as Vice President of Health and Safety. Wright, a member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association for more than 30 years, will work with the health advisory committee to prepare and maintain the XFL’s health, wellness and safety policies, procedures and protocols. Wright will also hire, supervise, and evaluate the team athletic trainers.
“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,” said XFL Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck. “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 is considered a leading authority in neurosurgery, traumatic brain injury and research, and neurological sports medicine. He is Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at NorthShore University HealthSystem and Co-Director of the Northshore Neurological Institute in Evanston, Il. Dr. Bailes served as team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 10 years, and the NCAA Division I for 15 years. He is a member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, NFLPA Mackey White Health and Safety Committee, and Chairman of the Pop Warner Football Medical Advisory Committee. He is a board-certified neurosurgeon, earned bachelor of science and doctor of medicine degrees from Louisiana State University, and received neurosurgery training at Northwestern University and the Barrow Neurological Institute.
Dr. Lemak is the Founder of Lemak Health, a center of excellence in orthopedics and primary care sports medicine. He serves on Pop Warner Football’s Medical Advisory Committee and the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Dr. Lemak founded the National Center for Sports Safety in 2001 and the Alabama Sports Foundation in 1996. He also served as Medical Director for Major League Soccer for 20 years, was a founder of the American Sports Medicine Institute, and was the Medical Director of NFL Europe League for more than 15 years. Dr. Lemak is a graduate of The University of Alabama Medical School and is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and the Arthroscopy Association of North America.
Dr. Reardon is a Board-certified psychiatrist specializing in sports psychiatry and an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Psychiatry. She clinically works as the consulting sports psychiatrist to the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department at UW-Madison’s University Health Services.
Dr. Reardon has served on the International Society for Sports Psychiatry Board of Directors since 2010, currently as its Secretary and Education Committee Chair. She also serves as the sole psychiatrist on the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. Dr. Reardon chairs a workgroup on Mental Illness in Elite Athletes for the International Olympic Committee. She has published and presented widely on many sports psychiatry related topics, and is Co-Editor of the book “Clinical Sports Psychiatry: An International Perspective.” She completed her undergraduate and medical school degrees as well as her psychiatry residency training, serving as Chief Resident, at the University of Wisconsin.
Wright has been an athletic trainer since 1985. He recently spent 18 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, first as the Assistant Athletic Trainer and Conditioning Coordinator (2001-10), then as the Head Athletic Trainer (2011-18). In addition to the Brewers, Wright has held athletic training positions at either the minor or major league-level for the Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, and San Francisco Giants. From 1995 to 2008, he was Co-Owner and President of FitLife Health Systems, Inc., a business that provided athletic training, injury rehabilitation, and performance, fitness and conditioning services. Wright earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education (1984) and Master of Science in Clinical Health and Sports Medicine (1987) from the University of Oregon.