Vikings’ Sheldon Burns, M.D. Named Outstanding NFL Team Physician of the Year

Feb 28, 2019

NFL Physicians Society Applauds Burns for  Receiving the Jerry “Hawk” Rhea Award 

 (Indianapolis, IN — February 28, 2019) – The NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) applauds Dr. Sheldon Burns, M.D. for being presented with the prestigious Jerry “Hawk” Rhea Award. Burns 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. Burns has established himself as an absolute legend not only in the Minnesota sports world but also this community. He has helped and treated thousands of professional athletes and even more regular patients. The knowledge, professionalism and availability he displays daily is unmatched. He is so very deserving of this honor. We are fortunate to have him work alongside all of us,” said Eric Sugarman, Vice President of Sports Medicine, Minnesota Vikings.

“The Professional Football Athletic Society would like to Congratulate Dr. Burns on receiving the Jerry “Hawk” Ray Award for his tireless service to the National Football League and Players of the Minnesota Vikings. Your commitment to the advancement of  health and safety for the NFL is greatly appreciated,” said James Collins, President of the PFATS.

“Sheldon’s extensive experience in sports medicine has made a significant impact on the Vikings, as well as the entire league. He brings passion and expertise to thousands of athletes, providing them with the highest degree of care.” said Dr. Leigh Ann Curl, M.D., president of the NFLPS.  “We are grateful to  PFATS for honoring him with the Jerry “Hawk” Rhea Award.” 

Dr. Burns has over 40 years of experience, with a special interest in sports medicine. He serves as the Team Physician for the Minnesota Vikings, in addition to serving as the Medical Director for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Lynx.   Dr. Burns is affiliated with Allina Health and Abbott Northwestern Hospital.Burns completed his education and residency at University of Minnesota.

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. Walt Lowe of the Houston Texans. A full list of previous winners can be found here.