Panthers’ Robert A. Heyer, M.D. Named
Outstanding NFL Team Physician of the Year
NFL Physicians Society Applauds Heyer for Receiving the Jerry “Hawk” Rhea Award
(Indianapolis, IN — February 26, 2020) – The NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) applauds Dr. Robert A. Heyer, M.D. for being presented with the prestigious Jerry “Hawk” Rhea Award. Heyer was recognized as outstanding NFL team physician by the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) at the NFLPS Annual Scientific Meeting and Symposium during the NFL Scouting Combine. The award is given annually by PFATS to the NFL team physician who has made the greatest contributions to both the NFL and the profession of athletic training.
“Dr. Heyer has established himself as a role model in NFL health and safety. His passion for medicine is evident to every athlete and regular patient he treats. We always knew our players were in exceptional hands with Dr. Heyer because of his deep knowledge of medical innovations, attention to detail and how much he cares about those in his care. He is extremely deserving of this honor and I am so proud to be giving this award to him tonight,” said Ryan Vermillion, former Head Athletic Trainer, Carolina Panthers, now with the Washington Redskins.
“PFATS congratulates Dr. Heyer on receiving the Jerry “Hawk” Ray Award for his unparalleled service to the National Football League and players of the Carolina Panthers. His commitment to his athletes is unparalleled,” said James Collins, President of the PFATS.
Dr. Heyer, who is retiring this year, has over 40 years of experience, with a special interest in internal medicine and pulmonary disease. He serves as the Team Physician for the Carolina Panthers; he has been with the team for 26 years. Dr. Heyer previously served as the president of the NFLPS. In addition to his work with the Carolina Panthers, Dr. Heyer serves on the NFL Musculoskeletal Committee and the General Medical Committee. Dr. Heyer is affiliated with the Carolinas Medical Center and is a clinical professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Burns completed his education at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
The Jerry “Hawk” Rhea Award for Outstanding NFL Team Physician is presented annually by PFATS to a member of the NFLPS. First awarded in 1998, it is named for Jerry Rhea who was the Head Athletic Trainer for the Atlanta Falcons from 1969 until 1994 and worked as Assistant to the President of the Falcons from 1994 to 2001. Jerry Rhea was the first winner, in 1998, of the Fain-Cain Memorial Award for outstanding NFL Athletic Trainer of the year, awarded annually by the NFL team physicians.
Last year’s winner was Dr. Sheldon Burns of the Minnesota Vikings. A full list of previous winners can be found here.