Reggie Scott, vice president of sports medicine and performance at Rams, has, as he says, a wider responsibility than in the past when the team had a “trainer with a roll of tape and a water bottle.” His name appears every time a coach or player talks about injury recovery, COVID-19 issues, and more. Scott, 42, from Dover, Delaware, who holds a degree from West Virginia and the University of California, California, is president of the Association of Professional Soccer Athletic Trainers. As the 12 seasons approached in Rams and he was managing about 20 people, Scott spoke with Rams beatwriter Kevin Modesty on the patio of the team’s training camp hotel in Newport Beach. The conversation has been edited for brevity.
How has your job changed from the days of trainers with ankle tapes to your current job?
very. It’s very advanced. I always tell people that they run most of the medical facilities that are currently facing a pandemic, from the rehabilitation we do to all medical affairs. The world of performance, all new science, including strength & conditioning. It manages everything from cold heads to broken ACLs. It’s a big, big job.
Rams’ current medical problem is Come Acres. What kind of recovery can you expect from a running back from an Achilles tendon rupture in your early twenties?
You expect a great recovery for such a young man. He is doing it for him. Dr. Neil El Atlas has a great surgeon. And you have a super devoted and tail-cutting kid. So it’s a great combination for a guy to come back and be just as strong, if not better than before.
The Rams have a 39-year-old left tackle, Andrew Whitworth, a 34-year-old wide receiver, DeSean Jackson, a 33-year-old quarterback, and Matthew Stafford. Aaron Donald is unbelievably just 30 years old. Can you do more than the last few years to help players grow their careers? Are you going to see more Tom Brady playing well until his 40s?
Yes, I think modern medicine and innovation, and what we are learning about performance and joint preservation, have improved. Life expectancy will improve. It’s very similar in soccer. I think we are very active about how to care for men. And I think men are more educated about how to take care of themselves. There are many things you need to do to get on your way to play this game for a long time. It’s a group of really elite people you’re talking about, and a credit for who they are.
Speaking of Aaron Donald, he is the best defensive lineman. Athletes and coaches talk about his greatness. What makes him stand out for someone in sports medicine?
For those whose work is very elite, he attacks as if he had to earn a weight room every day. He is preparing like no other. He has improved over the years by learning how to take care of his body. I love how over the past few years he has begun to retreat and learn how to smarten his recovery strategy. Many people, you need to push them to get ready. It’s the exact opposite of him. You need to pull this guy back.
Fans look at Tutu Atwell and think that a 5’9, 160 (ish) pound rookie wide receiver must be injured. What can you say to them?
No predictors of injury were found. You can do a lot to mitigate the risk, but you cannot predict the injury. Tutu Atwell, the way he approaches the game and takes care of himself, can be very successful in this league.
Is Rams doing something different to prepare the team to go from 16 to 17 in the regular season and have another chance to get tired or injured?
I don’t think our approach has changed much in another game. Obviously, we lost the pre-season game (which goes from 4 to 3), and our starters don’t play much or at all in the pre-season. It thinks we’ll stick to our process, and that extra game takes care of itself.
How well did the NFL and Rams handle COVID-19?
Well, in the midst of the biggest pandemic of our lives, we didn’t miss a football game. I score it pretty well. The league has done a great job of creating an environment for us to be healthy and safe. That was all this North Star. People who are ill are receiving early treatment. There is a preventative approach in the ecosystem in which we live, including the best possible. This is a great committee approach by Dr. Allensils, NFL Chief Medical Officer, with the participation of experts and many athletic trainers from around the world, as well as many members of the Professional Soccer Athletic Trainers Association. This is another season with confidence.
Did you learn anything that can be applied to efforts to convince everyday people to get their shots when talking to players about whether they should be vaccinated?
I think an important element of our approach to vaccination is to get really good and informative education and accurate information. That’s the approach I think we all need to take. Get informed so you can make the best decisions for your health and safety.
Given your experience as a black man playing an important role in the NFL, what do you tell players about how to deal with and should deal with racial issues both inside and outside the sport?
One of the biggest things is to be a listener. Make sure you are creating an environment where you can listen. There are many young African-American men on this team, so listening to them and being able to teach them a bit is probably one of the biggest things I can do. I was fortunate to be with them, listen and help the guide.
To what extent does the NFL deal with head injuries and improve protection?
I think the progress was great. You look at Biocore, a bioengineering company hired by the league, and look at helmetwear. When I first entered this business, many helmets weren’t really suitable for games. We know that helmets clearly do not eliminate concussion, but concussion has been reduced by producing better equipment and better fittings. All the money the NFL has put into research, you’re starting to feel the results. There is a way, but it’s a big change and I’m really excited about it.
Coaches like Sean McVay of the Rams see key players regularly locked out of pre-season matches, reflecting the inherent dangers of playing football. If parents see it and wonder, “Is football safe for my kids?”, What can you tell them?
There are 3 pre-season games and 17 game seasons. Strategies to reduce exposure are one of our approaches. From a health and safety perspective, I think our game continues to improve. I think it goes back to those who educate themselves and study things. It’s really promising to know how much we are doing to keep the game healthy and safe for the longevity of everyone.
How safe was the artificial turf at SoFi Stadium last season? Why are more and more events being held there?
Artificial turf has been shown to increase the injury rate by about 45% compared to natural turf. That’s just a fact. The NFL has studied how that gap can be reduced. There are many variables. As I said, make sure you have the best turf you need to mitigate your risk. In Hellas, we found one of the best companies we are really excited to work with. Next, we hired SoFi full-time staff to manage the infills the way we needed them. I think it really worked last year.
Following Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles focuses on the mental health of athletes. Can you see or see a similar case of a soccer player suffering from the mental stress of sports?
Many athletes, and even soccer players, came out and talked about their mental health and some of the things they did to help them. I think it’s great. I think consciousness is important.
What makes this a successful season for the Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance?
How can I measure success? I’m taking this from Aaron Donald. Bow down and focus on the process. When you look up and see success, it’s when things go wrong.
If Rams won the Super Bowl, you would have contributed in many ways.
There are many moving parts to win the Super Bowl, but I’m just one of them. But if we win the Super Bowl, it will be a year of great success.
Rams’ Reggie Scott is more than a ‘trainer’ – Press Enterprise Source link Rams’ Reggie Scott is more than a ‘trainer’ – Press Enterprise