All 32 NFL teams have x-ray machines inside of their stadiums. The machines are used at almost every game due to the the high rate of injuries in professional football. The images are transmitted digitally via a cloud-based platform, so that specialists can see the x-rays, and even coaches and trainers on the sideline can access the images.
Having the x-ray machines can give immediate results about a player’s injury to let the team physician know if the player should be kept out of the game, but can also help clear a player to return if no fracture is found.
Most stadiums have made significant upgrades in recent years to their x-ray equipment, and most of the x-ray tables can now hold patients who weigh up to 650 pounds. The digital imaging equipment can provide x-ray results within 6-7 seconds.
If a patient has to be transported to a hospital, the images are transmitted prior to arrival so that the surgeon knows what to expect.
Two stadiums, Dallas and Cincinnati, have MRI scanners in their stadium, but because MRI scans take so long, most teams have not added them and prefer that the patient goes to a hospital for this testing. Some teams have standing time slots reserved on Monday for the players who were injured on Sunday.
Some teams have CT scans as well now, for more thorough evaluation of injuries such as arm or leg fractures. Studies are underway to use immediate CT scanning at the stadium to evaluate for concussions as well.
Special x-ray machine for NFL players with leg injuries: