New NFL policy bars team doctors from wearing logoed apparel
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- When Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin went down clutching his ankle on Sunday, there was a subtle but noticeable difference about the doctor who rushed to his side.
Team physician Dr. Joel Boyd was dressed in all black -- not in apparel featuring the Vikings' colors or logo, save for his purple hat.
That was no accident.
On Oct. 11, the NFL Team Physicians Society, headed by Dr. Tony Yates in Pittsburgh, sent a memo to team medical staffs informing them of a new sideline photo credential for up to four doctors per team intended to make them easier for stadium security to identify outside the bench area.
"This helps avoid security personnel from confusing team doctors with coaches and limiting their ability to be outside the bench area," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email.
"In addition to these new IDs, and to further facilitate the identification of these team physicians, Dr. Yates's memo said that the physicians that receive the new IDs cannot wear team apparel on the sidelines during games."
Doctors were instructed to wear "professional attire," Aiello said, though there is no requirement for sports jackets, ties, etc. According to Aiello, some team medical staffs already were dressing accordingly, so the change wasn't drastic.
The Vikings, however, were among the teams that regularly dressed their team doctors in paraphernalia bearing their logo.
"The credentials and differentiating sideline wear help physicians and game operations staffs in ensuring that medical staffs have full sideline access and visibility of the playing field," Aiello said in the email. "(This) is another improvement in injury management originally discussed by the NFL Physicians Society with Commissioner Goodell."