NFL Donates Millions to NIH for Brain Injury Research

Nancy Harris Bonk Health Guide

    The NFL recently made a $30 million donation to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research traumatic brain injury and other medical conditions. The donation, the largest in NFL history, is the founding donor for a new Sports and Health Research Program which will work with various centers and institutes at the NIH. While the exact areas of research are not yet clearly defined, conditions under consideration include (but are not limited to): chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE); concussion; to see if there is any relationship between traumatic brain injury and disability from degenerative nerve diseases and/or Alzheimer's disease; chronic degenerative joint disease and the transition from acute pain to chronic pain.

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     Dr. Story Landis, director for the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke said;

    "We are really excited about this partnership. I think their engagement and the potential future engagement of other sports organizations has the potential to produce great progress in our understanding of brain injuries in sports and outside sports as well."


    This donation comes at a crucial time during contact sports history. The NFL currently has a huge lawsuit with 3,400 former players suing the league, claiming the NFL withheld crucial information about the dangers of brain injury and football. Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, said about the donation, "Our commitment here is to hopefully help set the standard and lead the way in research about head injuries, and we're doing it with the leading scientists."


    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds research for many different diseases and conditions. But some hard cold facts include; in 2006, Migraine and headache disorders received less than $10 million, which is 0.05% of the NIH's total budget, despite the fact that 37 million Americans have Migraine. On the other hand, the NIH spends $81 million on head injury research and 1.7 million people a year head sustain a traumatic brain injury. Both are important causes, but the disparity is a bit absurd.     


    No doubt this funding will help not only athletes, but our military and the general public as well. People with Migraine, our service men and women are not the only patients whose Migraine pain can transform from acute to chronic; let's hope this will be in one of the first phases of the research programs.    





    Maske, Mark. "NFL donating $30 million to NIH for brain injury research." The Washington Post. September 5, 2012. 


    Press Release. "The National Football League Commits $30 Million Donation to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to Support Medical Research." National Institutes of Health. Bethesda, Maryland. September 5, 2012.


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    © The HealthCentral Network, 2012
    Last Updated September 26, 2012.

Published On: September 25, 2012