NFL Contributes Over $16 Million Grant to Neurodegenerative Research

On January 5th the NFL announced it will be contributing just over $16 million to research. The money will be split among three different programs that focus on neurodegenerative diseases. Keep reading to learn more about the programs and funding, or follow the original release here.

Sports communities faced rising concern over brain injury last year. Specifically American football and the NFL headed up many lists of concerns. As more people became aware of sports related injuries the issue continued to grow.

Attempting to find a solution, the NFL participated in a five-year agreement with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH). As part of this agreement, the League originally invested $30 million in the foundation.

While the described $16.3 million grant is only part of the original $30 million investment, it is still a substantial sum. Despite that the League’s agreement with FNIH ended in August, the donated funds are aimed to have long reaching impact.

“These research initiatives represent important scientific projects, with proven track records of achievement that affect public health,” read a League statement.

Continuing its statement, the NFL explained that it maintains a goal to improve knowledge and understanding of concussion and brain injuries. Furthermore, the NFL expressed special interest in improving these fields as they relate to veterans and athletes.

Money granted by the NFL will be allocated to three different projects.
In 2014, a joint effort between the NCAA and the Department of Defense resulted in the Concussion Assessment and Research Education (CARE) Consortium Grand Alliance.

The program observes 30 universities across the nation and is tasked with tracking information on athletes and concussions at these locations. As of January 5th the CARE Consortium gathered information on over 2000 concussions. 30,000 athletes and cadets formed the studied group.

The Consortium continues to follow these cases in an effort to understand the effects of this injury. In support of the project, the NFL contributed $7.65 million to the CARE Consortium.
Another $7.65 million has been marked for the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury program (TRACK-TBI).

The program is primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and operates at 18 locations nationwide. TRACK-TBI collects extensive information on patients with head injuries. TRACK-TBI also follows the outcomes of their cases to gather additional data. As of January 5th, TRACK-TBI programs enrolled 2,300 patients with traumatic brain injury. Studies conducted by TRACK-TBI utilize advanced imaging technologies, and result in substantial biological information that will be used to advance neuroscience research.

The NFL marked the remaining $2.25 million for the National Institute of Aging (NIA).

NIA is a branch of the National Institutes of Health, and concentrates their research on the process of aging and diseases related to aging. A number of the NIA’s ongoing projects will benefit form the NFL’s donation. While much of the NIA’s work focuses on cognitive aging rather than sports injuries the fields are not unrelated. Any contribution to the understanding of the brain could lead to a breakthrough. Other projects by the NIA focus on diagnostic methods, treatment, causes, and prevention of the variable forms of dementia.


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