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UCSF partners with NFL to offer spine treatment to retired players

By Lauren Hammit

Bobby Tay, MD

The UCSF Spine Center is one of five hospital programs across the country selected by the National Football League to provide care to retired players in a new spine treatment program.  Created by the NFL, the program is designed to make specialists available to evaluate and treat spine-related conditions.

“We’re excited to be a part of this program, to serve our patients and to be a member of an excellent team of spine care providers across the country,” said Bobby Tay, MD, orthopaedic surgeon in the UCSF Spine Center and program director for the NFL spine care initiative at UCSF. 

Each medical center provides a clinical care team that includes an orthopaedic spine surgeon, a neurosurgeon and a physiatrist to evaluate and treat eligible former players.  For the UCSF team, Tay serves as orthopaedic spine surgeon and program director.  Neurosurgery is led by Dean Chou, MD, assistant professor of neurological surgery, associate director of spinal tumor surgery and member of the UCSF Spine Center.  The physiatrist is Sibel Demir-Deviren, MD, assistant clinical professor in the UCSF Spine Center and a specialist in non-operative spine treatments including fluoroscopy-guided spine interventional therapies.

Other selected medical centers include Mt. Sinai, New York; The Emory University Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital, Atlanta; UCLA Health System, Los Angeles; and Washington University, St. Louis.

“We carefully considered the medical centers and made the selections based on their expertise, high-quality service and stellar reputations,” said Harold Henderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of player programs. “Each hospital will provide specialized, coordinated spine care to NFL retirees.”

The program, part of the NFL Player Care Plan, is available to retired players vested under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle pension plan.  Interested NFL players can contact the Player Care Plan to connect with the appropriate program director and find additional information on medical and benefits programs at www.nflplayercare.com.

The UCSF Spine Center is one of the largest comprehensive care centers in the country, treating 10,000 patients a year.  The center brings together world-renowned specialists in orthopaedic surgery, neurosurgery, neurology, physiatry and other specialties to design the most effective treatment plan.  The center includes experts in cancer, pain management, physical therapy, radiation oncology and rheumatology, and treats the full spectrum of spinal disorders from complex and difficult-to-diagnose conditions to those that have failed previous treatment.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, visit http://www.ucsf.edu.