ST. LOUIS – Matthew Matava, an orthopedic surgeon at Washington University in St. Louis is no stranger to high profile injuries.  

Matava, the Blues head team doctor and former St. Louis Rams Medical Director now heads the NFL’s Research and Innovation Committee.  

“I always tell people there’s no place in the world you’re better off for a medical emergency outside of an emergency room then on an NFL field,” Matava said.  

Matava also has experience with a similar injury to Damar Hamlin’s. In 1998, Matava was one of the onsite physicians when Chris Pronger was hit with a puck and collapsed.  

“Me and the athletic trainer went out on the ice and we evaluated Pronger and he was out,” Matava explained.  “Fortunately, he was resuscitated.”  

According to Matava each NFL game has about 30 medical specialists on site for each game. Whether watching on the sidelines or watching from the box seats.  

“Whenever you’re dealing with professional sports teams these are collectively bargained unions so both sides have to agree, and health and safety is one thing they do not compromise on,” Matava told Fox 2.  

As far as Monday Night’s response time goes, Matava said the medical professional’s response time on the scene was, “amazing.”  

Matava explained how the response is no fluke either. Each venue has an emergency action plan and before each game there’s an hour long meeting with team doctors and the head officials. Each team will also practice emergency situations throughout the season. 

“It’s not that just practice makes perfect,” Matava said. “It’s perfect practice makes perfect.”  

One team likely keeping a close eye on Hamlin’s injury? The Battlehawks who make their Dome debut on March 12. The team is yet to unveil a safety plan for emergencies but the team did confirm that doctors will be on the field for games.   


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