The National Football League appears to be stepping up to the plate when it comes to brain injury research.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday that the league will provide $30 million in funding for medical research, mainly on brain injury, to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH).
The unrestricted gift is the NFL’s single-largest donation to any organization in the league’s 92-year history and will be overseen by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the league said in a press release.
The NIH, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will administer the NFL funding and research, which will be aimed at helping at helping athletes and the general public, including members of the military.
With its donation, the NFL will be the founding donor of a new Sports and Health Research Program, which will be conducted in collaboration with institutes and centers at the NIH. The FNIH is looking for other donors, including additional sports organizations, to the collaboration.
Exact plans for the research still need to be nailed down, but some potential areas “include accelerating the pace of discovery to support the most innovative and promising science of the brain, including: chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE); concussion management and treatment; and the understanding of the potential relationship between traumatic brain injury and late-life neurodegenerative disorders, especially Alzheimer’s disease,” the press release said.
In addition to brain research, funding was also help foot the bill for health issues such as: sudden cardiac death in young athletes; heat and hydration-related illness; chronic degenerative joint disease as a result of athletic injuries; the transition from acute to chronic pain; and the detection and health effects of performance enhancing substances, including human growth hormone.
“We hope this grant will help accelerate the medical community’s pursuit of pioneering research to enhance the health of athletes past, present and future,” Goodell said in a statement. “This research will extend beyond the NFL playing field and benefit athletes at all levels and others, including members of our military.”
Dissemination of funding from this grant will be governed by federal law and policy applicable to NIH-funded research. In accordance with NIH policy, NIH funding recipients will be urged to disseminate the results of research to optimize the value of the science to the research community and the public.
“We are grateful for the NFL’s generosity” Dr. Stephanie James, FNIH acting executive director and CEO, said in a statement. “The research to be funded by this donation will accelerate scientific discovery that will benefit athletes and the general public alike.”
The NFL will have no early or special access to scientific study data, according to the press release.