Being sued by thousands of ex-players, the National Football League is forming a $50 million partnership with General Electric Co. to devise new imaging technology to detect and diagnose concussions, The New York Times reported Sunday. To me, this seems like a truly promising way to make progress in the battle against concussions.
The four-year project is slated to start next month, and according to The Time was the fruit of a conversation between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who was an offensive tackle at Dartmouth University. Goodell said he was trying to enlist corporate America to join in the research on concussion diagnosis and prevention, and Immelt jumped on board.
The NFL continues to make accommodations to prevent and properly threat head injuries. During a Super Bowl press conference Thursday in New Orleans, Goodell vowed that next season independent neurology consultants would at every game to monitor head injuries and determine if they are concussions.
The NFL-GE project will have two parts, starting out with at least $30 million to develop imaging equipment to detect head injuries, The Times reported. It’s an assignment that fits GE very well, since the giant company makes diagnostic equipment, including magnetic resonance imaging.
The second goal of the collaboration, funded with $20 million, is to devise safer helmets and protective gear for players. The idea, according to The Times, is for GE to solicit innovative ideas from scientists, entrepreneurs and academics. The cream-of-the-crop of those ideas would be manufactured as products and marketed, the newspaper reported.
By the way, the best interviewer in the world, CBS “Face the Nation” anchor Bob Schieffer, had Goodell on the hot seat Sunday. Schieffer asked Goodell the same question that The New Republic recently asked President Barack Obama: If he had a son, would he let him play football?
Obama said he’d “have to think long and hard” about that. In contrast, Goodell said he would “absolutely” want his own kid to play football.