Dr. Daniel Lamar spent the better portion of his childhood catching spirals and juking past defenders on the gridiron.
As an elite football and baseball player for Manatee High School, Dr. Lamar, a sports medicine specialist and an orthopedic surgeon with Coastal Orthopedics, had visions of playing at the next level — a goal that was solidified when he chose to play football for Davidson College in North Carolina.
While at Davidson, Dr. Lamar, a wide receiver and kickoff and punt returner who led the Wildcats in receiving yards in 1990 and 1992, lined up against players who would one day vie for an opportunity to play in the National Football League.
Now, more than 25 years later, Dr. Lamar once again finds himself standing alongside college football’s elite, as they prepare to leave their mark on the NFL Scouting Combine.
As a sports medicine physician and an orthopedic consultant for the Tennessee Titans, Dr. Lamar attended the NFL Scouting Combine, Feb. 27 through March 5, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind. to evaluate players.
“I consider it a privilege to be involved with these athletes,” says Dr. Lamar. “It’s a big responsibility. They trust me to take care of their team and their assets that they rely on for their industry.”
More than 300 prospects participated in this year’s Combine. Dr. Lamar, along with two other orthopedic surgeons for the Titans, was responsible for thoroughly evaluating each player from a physical standpoint and helping determine whether or not a player can perform next-level playing.
“With the difficult drills and the tangibles you see on television, you know these athletes can play football,” said Dr. Lamar. “The general manager and the coaches rely on us to helping them understand whether or not a player is healthy enough to draft. It’s a unique experience because you’re truly functioning in a team capacity in this role.”
Beginning Feb. 28, Dr. Lamar spent four days evaluating each player’s musculoskeletal system with a particular emphasis on hips, shoulders, knees and any other joints that could’ve been injured. Following the evaluation, each player received a grade from a physical health perspective.
The physical examination is one of the pieces Titans Executive Vice President and General Manager Jon Robinson and his staff will take into consideration when deciding whether or not to select a player during the 2018 NFL Draft from April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas.
While Dr. Lamar spent the majority of his time at the NFL Scouting Combine working, the former athlete still managed to find time to catch some of the action, including position drills and the 40-yard dash.
“I enjoy the interaction with the athletes,” says Dr. Lamar. “I was never the athlete any of these guys were, but I can certainly relate to who they are and what they’re trying to accomplish. It’s certainly stimulating.”
In addition to conducting physical examinations, Dr. Lamar also attended the NFL Physician Society’s annual meeting where team physicians discussed player safety and injuries and reviewed research topics.
“These meetings are always great because there’s a lot of camaraderie and ideas with physicians who are at the top of their game,” said Dr. Lamar.
Dr. Lamar is in the end of his second year with the Titans. Prior to joining the Titans, Dr. Lamar served as an orthopedic surgeon for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 10 years. In his role as an orthopedic consultant, Dr. Lamar attends Titans games, the team’s training camp, the NFL Scouting Combine and the NFL Draft.
In addition, Dr. Lamar also is a sports medicine physician for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, U.S. Soccer, IMG Academy, the Premier Sports Campus, Manatee High School and several other local high schools.
“I enjoy sports,” said Dr. Lamar, who was a wide receiver and kickoff and punt returner for Davidson College. “Participation at this level as a doctor forces me to remain very current. It’s intellectually challenging, and there’s a pressure to it that I appreciate.”