The NFL Team Physicians Society just sent out a memo, asking its members to dress more like doctors and less like every other team employee on the sidelines.
According to the memo, obtained by Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com, doctors were urged to wear “professional attire” on the sidelines, as opposed to the standard-issue team gear that every assistant coach, ball boy, etc. wear on game days
It began as part of a new photo credentialing process, designed to make it easier for security to differentiate doctors from coaches if they leave the bench area.
“The credentials and differentiating sideline wear help physicians and game operations staffs in ensuring that medical staffs have full sideline access and visibility of the playing field,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email. “[This] is another improvement in injury management originally discussed by the NFL Physicians Society with Commissioner Goodell.”
Not every physician on the sidelines chose to wear team gear anyway, so it’s not a drastic shift.
But at least symbolically, it helps the league draw a line between doctors and coaches — and between the Hippocratic Oath and the urge to get guys back on the field as quickly as possible — at a time when closing in on 4,000 players are suing the league over concussion issues.