PARADISE, NV—Performing lateral ankle reconstruction procedures before a sold-out crowd at Allegiant Stadium, NFL medical personnel were racing for the quickest ligament repair Sunday during the Pro Bowl Surgical Skills Challenge. “While Dr. George P. Maiers of the Colts has the AFC staff out to an early lead with some quick, precise suturing, Falcons team physician Dr. Kyle Hammond has mounted a strong NFC comeback with some timely imbrication, showing why he’s one of the true game-changing surgeons in the NFL,” announcer Kirk Herbstreit said as he followed the action on the field, where the top six team doctors from each conference operated on patients in the first of eight events comprising the day-long skills challenge. “It’s close, the clock’s running down, and—oh, and the tissue forceps have been fumbled by [Cleveland Browns physician] Dr. Voos! The tissue forceps are loose, and the ankle wound is still open! There’s a scramble on the operating room floor, and they’re, yes, they’re picked up by Dr. Cooper of the Cowboys—a massive turnover so late in the operation. The NFC squad is using both sets of forceps on their patient now, and it’s tough to see how the AFC medical team will fix this torn ligament without them. A reminder to stay with us for the next stages in our skills challenge, which will measure how fast doctors can reach an injured player, diagnose him with a concussion, and get him through the protocol and back out on the field.” At press time, the contest’s referee had issued a penalty to Los Angeles Chargers team doctor David Gazzaniga for trying to anesthetize a doctor on the opposing squad.

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