NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has appointed Dr. Nicholas Theodore chairman of the head, neck and spine committee, which plays a major role in the league's health and safety initiatives.

Theodore is a professor of neurosurgery, orthopedics and biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is director of the Hopkins Neurosurgical Spine Center.

He also has served as neurosurgeon for the Arizona Cardinals and worked as a consultant for baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks and the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.

Theodore's research focuses on trauma, brain and spinal cord injuries, minimally invasive surgery and robotics.

Dr. Allen Sills, the league's chief medical officer, served as the committee's interim chairman. He says Theodore's "clinical expertise — in addition to his extensive experience in injury prevention — will further advance our commitment to player health and safety."

The previous co-chairs were Drs. Richard Ellenbogen and Hunt Batjer. They had served since 2010.

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