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Panthers welcome Wake Forest student for NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative


CHARLOTTE— The Panthers will welcome a new face to the training staff this summer, as Alexis LeMone joins the team for the month of August. The Wake Forest medical student is part of the NFL's Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative, making her one of 29 medical students from 21 medical schools across the country participating with league clubs.

"I think the biggest thing that I'm most excited for is seeing just a different type of medicine practice," LeMone said this week, following the announcing.

The Pipeline Initiative, now in its third year, is the result of a partnership between the NFL, NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS), who are committed to increasing diversity in sports medicine. The NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative was developed to encourage medical students from diverse backgrounds to consider sports medicine careers, and over time, help to diversify NFL club medical staffs.

"The NFL and clubs across the league are excited to welcome this year's class of medical students and offer them the unique opportunity to complete clinical rotations with NFL club medical staffs," said Dr. Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer. "We have an impressive group of participants joining us from a growing roster of medical schools this season as we continue our efforts to bring interested diverse and underrepresented medical students into the sports medicine professional pipeline."

LeMone finished her undergraduate degree at Davidson College, where she was the first Black woman in college history to swim for the Division 1 team. Her time at Davidson was the culmination of a 15-year career as a swimmer, beginning when she was seven years old. It's that time as an athlete that niggled in the back of LeMone's mind when she was trying to decide what rotation she wanted to do next as she works towards her goal of being an orthopedist.

Under the supervision of team physicians – some of whom are physicians at Atrium Health, the official health care provider of the Carolina Panthers – as well as the club's athletic trainers, LeMone will observe staff and work directly with players.

"I just think this would be a really great exposure. I was an athlete so I have that idea of sports medicine from just being an athlete myself, but I haven't actually seen it from the medical side," LeMone said. "So I'm excited for this experience...I like the idea of working with high level professional athletes."

Alexis LeMone - Wake Forest School of Medicine - Carolina Panthers

While pursuing her doctorate, LeMone has spent time—and will continue to do so—rotating through different practices. Last year, the Panthers welcomed another Wake Forest student, Alexis Restrepo, as part of the Initiative. When LeMone reached out to Restrepo about the program, the Demon Deacon alum told her "it was a valuable experience and she raved about it." That testimony, along with LeMone's background as a college athlete and desire to see a completely different side of medicine, led her to apply.

Now she'll spend training camp and preseason experiencing sport medicine on the front lines.

"The NFL is such a huge conglomerate. I assume there would be a ton of resources in cutting edge medicine because ultimately, these athletes health is their livelihood," LeMone explained. "And so getting athletes back onto the field as soon as possible while also making sure you're doing the best for them, so they have longevity in their career, just seeing that dynamic and just the resources and the data that the NFL is able to provide their positions and their athletes is going to be something I've never seen before. So I'm really excited about that.

"I'm eager to expand my knowledge of sports medicine, particularly at the professional level, where the standards of care and innovation are exceptionally high. "

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