Ohio State’s James Borchers named Big Ten’s first Chief Medical Officer

The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, OH)

October 7, 2021

Dr. James Borchers will leave his job as Ohio State’s head team physician to become the Big Ten’s first Chief Medical Officer.

The conference announced the hiring of Borchers to the new position Thursday morning.

Borchers’ work last year was instrumental in the conference’s decision to reverse its cancellation of the 2020 season. Ohio State took advantage to go undefeated until losing in the College Football Playoff championship game to Alabama.

“It was extremely difficult to step away from my role as head team physician at Ohio State University,” Borchers said in a text to The Dispatch. “It has been the privilege of my career to work with an incredible group of athletic trainers and physicians to care for the amazing student-athletes at Ohio State. I am so thankful for the opportunities, experiences and the wonderful people I have worked with at Ohio State.”

Borchers will remain a clinical physician at OSU.

In his Big Ten role, Borchers will serve as a consultant to all conference schools with issues related to player health and safety and will lead all of the league’s sports medicine programming and initiatives.

He also will serve as an advisor to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, the Council of Presidents, athletic directors, faculty athletic representatives, senior soman administrators, team physicians, athletic trainers, coaches, and the league’s Mental Health & Wellness Cabinet.

“Well-deserved,” Ohio State football coach Ryan Day said on his 97.1 The Fan radio show of Borchers’ hiring. “Everything he went through last year, just being a leader in general, was very impressive. It’s something I really respected. You learn a lot about people when they go through tough times, when there’s uncertainty. But he really took a great leadership position. He was strong. He was fair. He allowed us an opportunity to do what we did.”

Borchers served as one of four members of the executive committee for the Big Ten’s Return to Competition task force last year as it studied whether to reverse its August cancellation of the fall sports season. He also was co-chair of the league’s medical subcommittee.

His presentation to a committee of presidents and chancellors detailing how a season could be played safely was considered a game-changer in the league’s reversal.

Borchers, who was a long-snapper for the Buckeyes in the early 1990s, was a longtime doctor in OSU’s program. He was named the athletic department’s head physician in 2016.

Now he’s on to a new role.

“It is an honor to be named Chief Medical Officer for the Big Ten Conference, which has long been a leader in collegiate athletics,” Borchers said. “This will be a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with the talented medical professionals within the conference and across all levels of college and professional sports as we continue to provide a best-in-class environment of health, safety and wellness for our nearly 10,000 student-athletes.”

Added Warren, “The physical and mental well-being of our student-athletes is our top priority. The addition of Dr. Borchers will further serve and protect the health and safety of our nearly 10,000 student-athletes. It will also ensure the conference is on the cutting edge of the latest medical advances and that we maintain strong interconnectivity to the best and brightest professionals in the medical community.”

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