Concussion awareness in football and hockey has become more and more important over the past number of years. On this page of our site we are going to look at funding and research and how it can help NFL and NHL players and sporting professionals around the world. You'll find information on how the NFL's funding is being spent and what organizations and research studies are going to benefit.
NFL Allocates $17 Million to Fund Concussion Awareness Research
The NFL has allocated more than $17 million to fund research into concussions and brain health. This research is going to look at concussion prevention and the effects of brain injuries on players. It comes after a dispute in 2017 that related to funding for research by the National Institutes of Health.
The funding is to be divided among a number of different departments including research being carried out by the Department of Defense, TRACK-TBI, a study funded by NIH, and the National Institute of Aging which is a branch of the NIH. $7.65 million is to be given to the Department of Defense and TRACK-TBI (Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge In Traumatic Brain Injury). $2.25 million is being given to the National Institute of Aging.
The NFL's chief medical officer said, "We know this is the type of work we need to better our understanding of these diseases. These contributions are certainly going to result in improved understanding."
The NFL also said, "these research initiatives represent important scientific projects, with proven track records of achievement that affect public health. Each of these research programs receives substantial federal funding. Through this commitment, the league hopes to advance the understanding of concussion prevention and other brain injuries, especially among athletes and veterans."
Football and Hockey Concussion Awareness Funding Commitments
The NFL was involved in a lot of controversy over their commitment to NIH research and these new funding commitments show that they are dedicated to helping with concussion prevention and awareness.
In an agreement in 2012, the NFL was to provide $30 million to support NIH research into brain injuries and other medical conditions affecting athletes through the Sports Health and Research Program. This agreement expired in August 2017. In July, members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to see if the NFL intended to fulfil its commitment. $18 million still had not been provided to research projects.
The NFL had committed to a $17.5 million study by Boston University researcher Robert Stern. This was funded by the NIH. A 2016 study by Democratic members of the House Committee alleged that the NFL and its head, neck and spine committee tried to influence that study by attempting to steer the research to someone with ties to the NFL. The league denied these accusations, stating that they raised their concerns through the proper channels. The NFL told the House committee that they intended to honour their funding commitment.
Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President of health and safety said, "We felt there was some erroneous reporting there. We feel good about where the money is now going. The point of all of this is the money is going to be spent to advance science."
NFL Concussion Awareness in Football And Hockey Program Funding
The NFL concussion protocol and awareness funding contribution to the Department of Defense is to be used to aid the Concussion Assessment Research and Education (CARE) Consortium Grand Alliance which was created with the NCAA in 2014. This program monitors athletes in 30 universities for concussions. The funding contribution by the NFL will also go to a program at the service academies that collects information on concussions suffered by all cadets.
The funds going to the TRACK-TBI study which was founded by the NIH will be used to collect information on patients with head injuries at 18 sites nationwide. This study currently has more than 2,300 patients.
The funds allocated for the National Institute of Aging is going to support research on cognitive ageing and dementia. The NFL said that their grant, "will be unrestricted for the use of the NIA to support the institute's scientific research on dementia and cognitive function.
Concussion Awareness in Sports
Concussion awareness is important and concussion prevention is not just an NFL problem. They happen in all sports that involve contact and understanding how to recognise and treat them is paramount. In football and hockey concussion awareness is even more important. NHL big hits are a problem and NFL games see players receiving hits to the head all the time too. New rules and protocols have been added to both the NFL and NHL concussion protocols for the 2017 season and with more research and funding, the leagues will be equipped with the information they need to treat and keep their players safe.