With ProScan Imaging technology in place at Paul Brown Stadium, an injured player can quickly determine confirmation of an injury or whether they can re-enter a game. Typically, athletes that are injured have to wait until the day after to receive an MRI.
"It's awesome," Bengals guard Christian Westerman said. "It's so convenient."
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Pomeranz has been affiliated with the Brown family since 1985 and runs the 30 ProScan centers nationwide. He initially reached out to the Bengals, and Cris Collinsworth — who helps run the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund to combat breast cancer — served as a conduit as a well. Cris Collinsworth is one of the driving forces on making ProScan Imaging in Paul Brown stadium happen.
The Bengals became the first professional team to have an MRI in their stadium after a nine-month process. The ProScan Imaging MRI is unique because it floats atop inflatable air bags since it is a magnet that could move when football fans roar and jump around during games.
"It's a technical achievement," Pomeranz said. "It's novel, valuable, pragmatic."
Pomeranz and Collinsworth met in person with the Houston Texans and spoke to Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, about their teams having a ProScan Imaging MRI facility in the stadium, but nothing was pursued. Teams have X-ray machines at their stadium, and according to Pomeranz, a couple of teams have MRIs at their training facility.
Even though it would be ideal for every NFL stadium to have an MRI facility, there are a few obstacles involving the engineering, cost, and space. Just to place the MRI into Paul Brown stadium was an accomplishment in itself. The machine weighs more than 100,000 pounds, so to get it into the stadium they had to move it on wheels via a railroad track.
"There were a lot of challenges to get in there." Pomeranz said.
Stadiums are often cramped with other amenities that cater to fans. Therefore, some stadiums simply do not have the room for an MRI machine at that size.
Lastly, and possibly the most prominent reason why most NFL stadiums do not have an MRI facility is that MRIs are extremely costly. It costs about $750,000 per year. Those costs include service, finance payments, and personnel.
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"It's a family-owned business," said Pomeranz. "We're in a small-market community. They're very thoughtful people, and this is one demonstration."
The MRI facility is open to the public Monday through Saturday. However, it is closed to the public on game days, and time slots during training camp are held exclusively for the Bengals players.
"They are our Number one priority at that location," said ProScan's senior director of imaging operations and sales, Jaclyn Klare Schmerge.
For the public, it can make a stressful medical appointment a little more enjoyable since they get to visit Paul Brown Stadium. For some, it is a necessity. While most MRIs have weight limits of about 350 pounds, ProScan Imaging is designed for someone who is the size of an NFL player. Therefore the stadium's open MRI can accommodate larger patients.