The USFL on Wednesday announced Dr. Jim Ellis as its first Chief Medical Officer, strengthening the league’s commitment to provide best-in-class care for its world-class athletes.
Dr. Ellis will lead USFL Player Health and Safety, including identifying and structuring new medical partnerships in current and future USFL cities. He will collaborate closely with team coaches, general managers, and athletic training staffs, as well as with already established expert medical advisors and partners across the league.
"This is a touchdown hire for the USFL and our players," said Brian Woods, President of Football Operations. "One of the USFL’s most important success stories during our inaugural season was the comprehensive medical care our players received. Dr. Ellis becoming the USFL’s first-ever Chief Medical Officer will help us expand and surpass our already high standards for player health and safety as we head into Season 2."
Dr. Ellis joins the USFL from the NFL, where he continues as the Emergency Preparedness Consultant for NFL Player Health and Safety. These current responsibilities include overseeing the Airway Management Physicians, Visiting Team Medical Liaisons, and Emergency Action Plan programs. Dr. Ellis coordinates team medical care at NFL events, including the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, and the International Series Games in Germany, London, and Mexico City.
Dr. Ellis supported numerous sports programs throughout his distinguished career. Starting in the early 1990s, he was the medical director for Atlanta Motor Speedway and the LPGA Chick-fil-A tournament in Atlanta. During the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, he was the Olympic Stadium Venue Medical Officer and Co-Chairman of the Olympic Medical Support Group. In 1999, he helped facilitate player medical care for the FIFA Women’s World Cup that was hosted across the United States. He was a senior consultant with Medical Sports Group that coordinated team medical care for the NFL at the Super Bowl for more than 25 years. He worked 13 seasons as the emergency physician/associate team physician for the Atlanta Falcons and was a member of the NFL Team Physicians Society. He also served as the Chief Medical Advisor to Augusta National Golf Club for the 2020 and 2021 Masters Tournaments.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina, his medical degree from Louisiana State University, and completed an Emergency Medicine Residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. After residency, Dr. Ellis co-founded Pinnacle Emergency Consultants, a private emergency physician group, which grew to become one of the largest private practice single specialty groups in Georgia at that time. His most recent clinical and administrative duties were with Prisma Health (formerly Greenville Health System) where he served in various leadership roles including Medical Director of the Urgent Care, Medical Director of University Medical Group, President of Prisma Health Medical Group, Vice President of Clinical Affairs and Chief of Staff to the system President. His academic appointment was Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and faculty with the Steadman Hawkins Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. He also previously served as the Co-Chair of the Spine Injury in Sport Group, sponsored by the NATA, NCAA, and NFL.
"Dr. Ellis’ extensive experience caring for athletes from a wide array of sports and his academic background emphasizes the USFL’s top priority, the health and safety of our players. It makes him the perfect choice for this critical position," said Daryl Johnston, Executive Vice President of Football Operations. "The USFL is focused on building a player-centric football league and I’m honored to welcome Dr. Ellis to the USFL Family. It’s another exciting addition to our league as we prepare for our second season."
USFL Season 2 kicks off April 15, 2023.
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