February 16, 2024

Sideline care at Super Bowl LVIII

Dr. Ketan Patel in front of this year’s Super Bowl logo.

On Feb. 11, 123.4 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl. Whether to cheer on their favorite NFL team, cross their fingers on a risky bet, or catch a glimpse of Taylor Swift, viewers made this year’s Big Game the most-watched broadcast since the 1969 Moon landing. 

Typically home to the Las Vegas Raiders, Allegiant Stadium hosted the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Fransisco 49ers. Standing by to help at a moment’s notice were seven field physicians. Five of them were Drs. David Obert, Ketan Patel, Ronald Scheer, Mike Holtz, and Tristan Cooper — all Sound Physicians emergency medicine (EM) professionals from University Medical Center (UMC) in Las Vegas.  

From left to right: Drs. David Obert, Ketan Patel, Ronald Scheer, Mike Holtz, and Tristan Cooper

“We have been lucky enough to be a part of the Raiders’ medical team since they moved to Las Vegas,” Dr. Obert said. “Since Allegiant Stadium was selected to host the Super Bowl, we were asked to fulfill our usual sideline roles for the Big Game.”

Las Vegas has become a major destination for sports over the last few years. After events like the 2023 National Hockey League Championships and the inaugural Formula One race through the iconic Las Vegas Strip, the Super Bowl is yet another huge sporting event for the city. The medical team has been preparing for the game for months. 

“It’s just another game,” said the head of NFL Health and Safety to his team of sideline physicians. “You’re here to do the job you do every day — except the 120 million people watching you. No pressure!” 

Unlike many other field physician teams across the NFL, every team member at Allegiant Stadium is an EM physician. For Sound’s EM physicians, each has a particular role to fulfill:

  • Airway Management Physicians — Dr. Obert and Dr. Patel carry advanced airway equipment and rapid sequence intubation in the event of a player’s cardiac arrest, cervical injury, or other indication for an emergency airway intervention. They’re also responsible for managing patient transport to a designated trauma center.  
  • Emergency Response Physicians — Dr. Scheer and Dr. Holtz are responsible for the days leading up to the game and provide game-day assistance to the visiting teams’ physicians and players. They are also designated as the code leaders in the event of a player’s cardiac arrest.  
  • Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant — Dr. Cooper sits in the booth to help identify head injuries and notify team physicians regarding the need for a player’s head injury or concussion evaluation.

Dr. Dave Obert surrounded by red and gold Chiefs confetti.

As an adjunct to the on-field services, 15 more UMC physicians, advanced practice providers, and residents helped staff the stadium’s first aid stations to provide medical care to the over 60,000 fans in attendance.

Thankfully, no players suffered major injuries during the game. The Chiefs clinched the win, and our Sound physicians’ hard work and preparation paid off.  

“There was a phenomenal amount of energy, not only in the stadium but around the entire city,” Dr. Obert said. “The Super Bowl was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we were honored to be a part of it.”   

Subscribe to the Sound Physicians Blog

A trusted source for today's healthcare needs.