Dr. Leslie Bisson, Buffalo Bills Head Team Physician Receives NFLPS’ Top Research Award

Mar 01, 2024

(Indianapolis, IN- March 1, 2024) The NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) awarded the Arthur C. Rettig Award for Academic Excellence to Dr. Leslie Bisson, head team physician of the Buffalo Bills, for his research presented at the NFLPS Scientific meeting entitled How to Leverage an Athletic Training Outreach Program to Deliver Hands – Only CPR Training in Underserved Communities.” Dr Bisson was instrumental in leading the response for Damar Hamlin when he suffered a cardiac arrest on the field.

The prestigious award is given annually to an NFL team physician for academic excellence in research in advancing the health and safety of players in the NFL.

“Dr. Les Bisson and colleagues have established an impressive outreach program to teach CPR to individuals in under-served communities in the Buffalo area. They have mobilized resources from their university as well as other local organizations, including the Buffalo Black Nurses, Incorporated (BBNI), University of Buffalo Department of Emergency Medicine, and their local New York State senator. They have assembled a very effective team to increase awareness of cardiac arrest and to teach bystanders how to initiate early response.  This is a fabulous example of making a positive outcome out of the catastrophic Damar Hamlin episode,” said Dr. Scott Rodeo, Chair of the NFLPS Scientific meeting and head team physician for the New York Football Giants.

After Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field, Dr. Bisson was crucial in bringing attention to the need for CPR/AED training in historically underserved communities. Through this program, they have trained over 3,500 people in CPR. UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine used their existing athletic training outreach program to facilitate delivery of the training. Other partners include Buffalo Black Nurses, Incorporated (BBNI), American Heart Association, Buffalo Bills, Jacobs School of Medicine’s Black Men, White Coats, and University at Buffalo, the State University of New York. The presentation includes a “Toolkit to Start Your Own Program” which steps include:

  • Finding partners that are already engaged with the community you want to serve.
  • Leveraging ATC outreach relationships with schools, coaches, athletic directors, and the administration.
  • Obtaining funding from grants for public outreach, public health, etc.
  • Training ATCs, students, and teachers to be instructors. Many of the CPR instructors come from diverse backgrounds.
  • Reinforcing the important of 911 – CPR – AED.
  • Continually improving the program through regular evaluation and sharing of successes.

“It’s an honor to accept this on behalf of the great team of people I’m privileged to work with as we strive to move the needle on CPR in historically underserved communities,” said Dr. Leslie Bisson, Buffalo Bills’ head team physician.

Dr Bisson’s collaborators on this program are Tameka Felts, MBA, BSN, RN, Scott Dinse, PT, ATC, Karen Bisson, MBA, BSN, RN, Jacob Geiger, BS and Nomi Weiss-Laxer, PhD, MPH, MA.

In addition to serving as the head team physician for the Buffalo Bills, Dr. Bisson is also the medical director for the Buffalo Sabres, and the orthopaedic surgeon for Buffalo State College. eHHe is the June A and Eugene R Mindell, MD Professor and Chair of Orthopaedics as well as Associate Dean for Clinical Transformation at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. He has been the President of UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine since 2013. He received a BS in Genetics and Cell Biology at the University of Minnesota and his MD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The Arthur C. Rettig Award was established in 2013 to recognize an NFL team physician for excellence in academic research and advancing the health and safety of players in the NFL. Dr. Arthur Rettig is a highly respected orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and disorders of the upper extremities. He had been a leading member of the Indianapolis Colts medical staff since the team arrived in Indianapolis in 1984 and had served as head team physician.

The winner of last year’s Arthur C. Rettig Award was Dr. James Voos, head team physician for the Cleveland Browns and President of the NFLPS.