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Bolts to Host Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative Student for 3rd Straight Year


The Chargers are continuing their efforts to diversify and broaden the world of sports medicine.

The NFL announced the 2024 participants of the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative on Tuesday, marking the third straight year of the program. The Bolts have taken part in the program each year.

The initiative is a joint program of the NFL, NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) and was launched in 2022 with the goal of increasing the pipeline of diverse students interested in careers in sports medicine. Over time, the objective is to diversify NFL club medical staffs.

After being one of the eight participating teams when the program launched two years ago, Director of Player Health, Wellness & Performance Marco Zucconi said the Chargers were eager to continue their involvement.

"I think the Chargers have, for a long time, not shied away from diversity in all aspects of the organization, but especially in sports medicine and athletic training," Zucconi said. "There's been a lot of support from the organization and leadership in athletic trainers that have come before me within the Chargers organization."

The program has provided nearly 50 minority students the opportunity to complete one-month clinical rotations with medical staff from NFL clubs across the league.

The 2024 program will match students from the four HBCU medical schools and 17 other medical schools with NFL clubs.

Programs like these are important to help medical students get their experiences of what it's like to work in sports medicine while still in school before their career begins.

"Availability of positions is one thing and then opportunity to have exposure in sports medicine is another," Zucconi said. "Our physicians have a sports medicine fellowship already that doctors can go onto their subspecialties, but this is just another realm of that.

"Just to be able to take a med student that is going to go into their residency, so there's still young in their career but it may give them some direction that they would like to work in sports medicine and eventually work with a team at some point in their career," Zucconi added.

Check out the best photos of the Chargers wrapping up their off-season program on Day 3 of Mini-Camp 2024, the final practice at the team's Costa Mesa facility before moving to The Bolt in El Segundo

This year, the Bolts will host Michael Baham, a student at the UC Irvine School of Medicine with a specialty of Sports Medicine.

Baham, who completed was Kinesiology major at the University of San Francisco for undergrad, can't wait to get started.

"Words cannot express how thankful I am to participate in the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative," Baham said. "As a lifelong NFL fan and aspiring primary care sports medicine physician, it is a dream come true to learn from the multidisciplinary medical teams that provide unparalleled and innovative care to the nation's top athletes.

"I look forward to expanding my clinical knowledge on and off the field, and I am excited to be a part of the NFL's commitment to diversifying the field of medicine," Baham added.

Baham was recently awarded the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) Agostini Medical Student Community Outreach Grant to create an immersive one-day sports medicine event for underserved youth with the goal of exposing them to a career in sports medicine.

He's also familiar with the Bolts as he has helped out as a liaison between teams and referees on game days at SoFi Stadium.

Now, Zucconi and the rest of the team are excited to see Baham in a different capacity.

"I'm excited to see Micheal in a different light actually because for a number of years has worked gameday staff with equipment and our referees," Zucconi said. "He'll come to us on game day and ask for a foam roller or something like that for the officials.

"Now to see outside of that role he's going to med school and has interest in primary care sports medicine, I think he gets the opportunity to see the organization from a different perspective and we see him in a different perspective as well," Zucconi added.

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