Irfan Asif, MD, Named USFL’s Medical Director to Focus on Player Health & Safety
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 31, 2022 – The new United States Football League (USFL) today announced that the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Sports & Exercise Medicine, a division of UAB Medicine and one of the country’s most respected academic medical centers, is a corporate partner and its Official Medical Provider. As part of the agreement, UAB’s Irfan M. Asif, MD, will serve as USFL Medical Director and a member of the League’s official Medical Advisory Committee. Asif, a physician certified in sports medicine and family medicine, is the chair of UAB’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, associate dean for primary care and rural health, and director of UAB’s primary care service line.
In addition to Dr. Asif’s position as Medical Director, UAB Sports & Exercise Medicine will provide the USFL with sideline physicians, preseason and postseason player physicals, mental health services, nutritionist consultations, clinical services, an employee health database, and other services.
“There is no priority greater to the USFL than player health and safety, so being near one of America’s premier medical centers was a big factor in our decision to have all eight of our teams play our inaugural season in Birmingham,” said Edward Hartman, USFL Executive Vice President of Business Operations. “UAB Sports & Exercise Medicine are experts in the field, and we’re proud to have Dr. Asif serving as our first USFL Medical Director.”
Supported by the UAB Departments of Family and Community Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine is comprised of physicians, care coordinators, certified athletic trainers, physical therapists, radiologists, a psychologist, a nutritionist, and a certified pedorthist. With years of experience treating high school, collegiate and professional, and adaptive athletes, the program specializes in the evaluation, management, rehabilitation, and prevention of injury and disorders in patients of all ages.
“This partnership with the USFL speaks to our love of football in the South as well as the outstanding healthcare delivered everyday by UAB Medicine,” said Selwyn Vickers, M.D., CEO of the UAB Health System. “Dr. Asif and his outstanding team will provide world-class medical care to the league as we look forward to an exciting first season.”
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 Heersink 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.
“Our UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine team is excited to partner with an outstanding professional organization in the USFL,” Asif said. “We are committed to supporting players’ health on and off the field and working with them to achieve their goals during this inaugural season. It is an exciting time for professional sports in Birmingham.”
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About UAB Medicine
UAB Medicine comprises the School of Medicine and the $5.8 billion UAB Health System that includes all of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s patient-care activities and 2,300 licensed beds in 11 hospitals, one of which is UAB Hospital — the eight-largest hospital in the United States, winner of the Women’s Choice award, and one of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals. UAB, a part of the University of Alabama System, is the state of Alabama’s largest single employer and an internationally renowned research university and academic health center; its professional schools and specialty patient-care programs are consistently ranked among the nation’s top 50. UAB is the largest academic medical center in Alabama and one of the top four largest academic medical centers in the United States. UAB is advancing innovative discoveries for better health as a three-time recipient of the prestigious Center for Translational Science Award. Find more information at www.uab.edu and www.uabmedicine.org.
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.