William Paterson University kinesiology professor Robb Rehberg will work his fourth consecutive Super Bowl for the National Football League on Sunday, but his experience will be a little different this time: Rehberg, who is now in his sixth season as an Athletic Trainer Certified (ATC) spotter for the NFL, was recently named one of the League’s senior medical advisors as well.
Professor Rehberg began as an ATC spotter with the NFL in 2016 and then served as coordinator for ATC spotters and medical advisor before moving into his current leadership role this past spring.
As a senior medical advisor, Rehberg says he is involved in many areas of player health and safety, including game day medical operations— namely overseeing the ATC spotter program—and emergency preparedness and training. He also provides support to the league’s medical committees—primarily the Head, Neck and Spine Committee and Musculoskeletal Committee.
As an ATC spotter, Rehberg is charged with spotting potential injuries to athletes on the field. He watches the game in a stadium booth outfitted with interactive monitors that display camera feeds of the game action from numerous angles, allowing ATCs to better identify injuries and alert medical personnel on the ground. (Hear from Rehberg and see him in action in this recent video produced by the NFL.)
“Each year I have worked with the NFL, the League has made the game safer,” Rehberg says. “From concussion identification to injury reduction to emergency preparedness, I have been honored to work with an amazing team of professionals that care about player health and safety, and together we have made a difference–not only in health and safety of NFL players, but players at all levels.”
His roles with the NFL, the professor says, have been a huge asset to his teaching in William Paterson University’s department of kinesiology, where his course load includes Sports Emergency Care and Injury Assessment.
“It has really allowed me to bring cutting-edge information about the athletic training discipline directly into the classroom. Working at the top level, for the National Football League – being able to do on Sunday afternoon what we do there – and then being able to come to the classroom on Monday to tell students what we do and how we do it has been great,” he explains.
“It’s exciting to bring all of those real-world, and sometimes ‘ripped from the headlines,’ experiences to the classroom.”
Moreover, Rehberg’s professional experience off-campus serves as an example to students of “the possibilities and promise of what the future holds…that if they are dedicated to their profession, the sky’s the limit,” he continues.
“A longtime mentor and friend recently pointed out to me how many positions I’ve had, at the NFL and elsewhere, that did not previously exist, and he’s right. My role with the NFL is an opportunity that did not exist just a few short years ago. In many ways, in the classrooms and labs here at William Paterson University, we’re preparing future athletic trainers for jobs that have not been invented yet.”
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