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NCAA names first chief medical officer

By Erik Christianson

A nationally respected neurologist and the top medical official of tennis’ governing body has been selected as the NCAA’s first chief medical officer (CMO).

Dr. Brian Hainline will begin his new position in January 2013, said NCAA President Mark Emmert.

Hainline is a leading sports medicine advocate with more than two decades’ experience in the field. A physician in private practice and medical professor, Hainline currently serves as chief medical officer of the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

“The NCAA was founded on the commitment to protect and enhance the health and well-being of student-athletes, and Dr. Hainline will elevate that commitment for the Association,” Emmert said.

As the Association’s first chief medical officer, Hainline will create a new Center of Excellence at the NCAA to function as a national resource to provide safety, health and medical expertise and research for physicians and athletic trainers. He also will oversee all student-athlete health and safety initiatives and coordinate with the NCAA’s main sports medicine panel, the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.

Emmert stressed that Hainline’s extensive experience, coupled with his work building the sports medicine program at the USTA, made him the best choice for the newly created role at the NCAA.

Hainline said the NCAA is uniquely positioned nationally to build bridges across the country and deliver a powerful message about the overall wellness of student-athletes.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to emphasize that our first and foremost obligation is to student-athletes,” Hainline said. “I see my position as being devoted to doing everything possible to strengthen the health, safety and well-being of all student-athletes.

“Our collective goal is nothing short of a societal shift—for our country to think about the health and well-being for student-athletes from grade school to high school, to college and beyond.”

Hainline is chief of neurology and integrative pain medicine at ProHEALTH Care Associates in Lake Success, N.Y. He also holds an appointment as a clinical associate professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine. He served as chief medical officer for the U.S. Open Tennis Championships from 1992 to 2007 and was appointed chief medical officer of the USTA in 2008. In this role, he serves on the USTA’s Sport Science Committee.

Emmert said Hainline expects to remain active as a practicing physician and medical professor while serving as the NCAA’s chief medical officer.

“The NCAA has an extraordinary history in protecting the health and safety of the collegiate student-athlete, and establishing the position of NCAA chief medical officer is a seminal milestone in that great legacy,” said Jim Whitehead, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine. “It’s a major leap forward that will build on the great work of the past and create new levels of progress and excellence. "    

Hainline’s background includes sports medicine experience with a number of leading organizations, including the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Olympic Committee. He has authored or edited five books and numerous academic papers and chapters.

Hainline earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Notre Dame, where he competed as a tennis student-athlete and was the team’s No. 1 singles and doubles player his senior year. He went on to earn his medical degree at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his residency in neurology at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

Hainline is married with three children.

“I was fortunate to compete as a student-athlete, and I now have an ideal opportunity to give back to something that is so meaningful in my life,” Hainline said.