BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 29, 2022 — The United States Football League (USFL) today announced the creation of a Medical Advisory Committee to advise the League on matters related to player health and safety. The seven committee members represent a variety of health-related disciplines. The founding members of the USFL’s Medical Advisory Committee are:
Dr. Irfan Asif – Medical Director
Dr. Jeff Dugas – Orthopedics
Dr. Javier Cardenas – Neurology
Dr. Larry Gostin – COVID 19 Protocols
Dr. Jody Ortega – Primary Care, Sports Medicine
Tory Lindley, USFL Director, Athletic Training & Rehabilitation – Athletic Training
Zac Woodfin, USFL Director, Player Performance & Wellness – Conditioning & Wellness
“USFL players and staff are extremely fortunate that these preeminent healthcare professionals have agreed to assist us in developing guidelines to enhance League-wide health and safety,” said Edward Hartman, USFL Executive Vice President of Business Operations. “These experts will provide the USFL a comprehensive approach to player and staff well-being.”
Irfan Asif, MD, a physician certified in sports medicine and family medicine, currently serves as associate dean for Primary Care and Rural Health at the UAB School of Medicine, chair of the UAB Department of Family and Community Medicine, and director of UAB’s primary care service line. He leads the UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine Program in Birmingham. Dr. Asif earned his medical degree in 2007 at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his family medicine residency and sports medicine fellowship at the University of Washington. Dr. Asif has provided care for athletes at all levels, including high school, collegiate, professional, and Olympic. He currently serves as a team physician for UAB Athletics, Birmingham Legion Professional Soccer, and USA Wheelchair Rugby. Additionally, Dr. Asif is a leader in sports medicine at a national and international level. He is Chair of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) Collaborative Research Network and has previously served on the AMSSM Board of Directors. He is also a Senior Associate Editor for Sports Health: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach, and also the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Jeffrey R. Dugas, MD, a founding member and partner at the renowned Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala., is board-certified in orthopedic surgery and the sub-specialty of sports medicine. A native of Schenectady, NY, Dr. Dugas graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He continued his education at Duke University School of Medicine, graduating with his medical degree in 1994. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the renowned Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Following his orthopedic training, Dr. Dugas accepted a fellowship in sports medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) in Birmingham, Alabama, under the direction of James R. Andrews, MD, and William G. Clancy, Jr., M.D. He is the team orthopedic surgeon for Troy University, serves as medical director for USA Cheer, the national governing body for cheerleading, and he is on the National Concussion Task Force to prevent concussions in youth sports. In addition, Dr. Dugas serves as Associate Medical Director for WWE.
Javier Cárdenas, MD, is a neurologist and director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center. He is board-certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and his expertise involves concussion, post-concussion syndrome, spinal trauma, and traumatic brain injury. He is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology, and the National Football League Head, Neck, and Spine Committee. Dr. Cárdenas received his medical degree from the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He completed a residency in pediatrics at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and trained in child neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute. Dr. Cárdenas created the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, the nation’s most comprehensive concussion prevention, treatment, and education program.
Lawrence O. Gostin is University Professor, Georgetown University’s highest academic rank conferred by the University President. Prof. Gostin directs the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and is the Founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law. He is a Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University and a Professor of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and is also the Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law.
José “Jody” O. Ortega, MD, practices non-surgical orthopedic sports medicine at Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center. He is also team physician for Birmingham-Southern College and the Program Director for St. Vincent’s East Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI). A graduate of Auburn University, Dr. Ortega earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He then attended the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham for medical school. He completed his internal medicine residency at Baptist Health System in Birmingham, followed by a primary care sports medicine fellowship at ASMI. He is a member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine.
Tory Lindley, ATC, a former National Athletic Trainers Association President, serves as the USFL’s Director, Athletic Training and Rehabilitation, overseeing the League’s athletic training staff. Lindley has nearly 30 years of athletic administration, healthcare administration, and Athletic Training experience. Lindley is the Deputy Athletics Director for Performance Excellence at Youngstown State, overseeing the university’s sports medicine, strength, conditioning, and academic services areas, while working to enhance athlete performance, nutrition, and mental health services. In addition, Lindley was the 14th President of NATA (2018-21) and was a member of the NCAA’s COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee in 2020. Lindley has a Bachelor of Science in Education with a Specialization in Athletic Training from Michigan State. He earned a Master of Arts in Biomechanics from the University of Minnesota in 1993.
Zac Woodfin, a nationally respected leader in the strength and conditioning community, is the USFL’s Director of Player Performance and Wellness, and oversees the League’s athletic performance training staff. A 16-year veteran in the strength and conditioning profession, Woodfin joins the USFL after a two-year stint at the University of Missouri as Director of Athletic Performance. Before his tenure at Mizzou, Woodfin’s career stops include Kansas (2017-19) and Southern Miss (2015-16). In 2014, Woodfin won the FootballScoop award while serving as head strength and conditioning coach at his alma mater, UAB. He spent three seasons with the Green Bay Packers as an assistant strength and conditioning coach (2011-13). Woodfin broke into the strength industry as a volunteer at Alabama and UAB. Following a college career at UAB (2001-04), during which he became the school’s all-time leading tackler (372 stops), he spent time in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, and Houston Texans. He also played for the Frankfurt Galaxy in the World Football League. A native of Prattville, Ala., Woodfin graduated from UAB in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a concentration in fitness leadership.
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About the USFL
The United States Football League (USFL) is a new, independent football league that is not affiliated with the defunct 1980s league or its owners. The inaugural USFL season will kick off April 16 with eight teams split into two divisions: the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits in the South Division; and the Michigan Panthers, Pittsburgh Maulers, New Jersey Generals, and Philadelphia Stars in the North Division. Each team will play a 10-game regular-season in Birmingham. Playoff semifinals begin in Canton on June 25 between the top two teams in each division and a championship game on July 3 between division winners. The USFL completed its inaugural Draft on March 10 and players reported to Birmingham training camps on March 22. At the conclusion of training camps, each USFL team will carry a 38-man active roster plus a seven-man practice squad. Players will receive base compensation and are eligible for victory bonuses. NBC Sports and FOX Sports are the League’s official media partners and will broadcast all 43 regular- and postseason games on FOX, FS1, NBC, USA, or Peacock networks. Brian Woods is President of Football Operations, and former Dallas Cowboys standout and long-time NFL on FOX game analyst Daryl Johnston is Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Former NFL Vice President of Officiating and FOX Sports’ NFL and college football rules analyst Mike Pereira is Head of Officiating, and FOX Sports’ Edward Hartman is Executive Vice President of Business Operations. For more information, visit theUSFL.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.