NFL allocates almost $24m to fund research
THE NFL has reallocated more than US$17 million ($23.7m) of funding for research into concussions and the effects of brain injuries after a dispute last year related to funding for research by the National Institutes of Health.
The funding now will be divided among research done by the Department of Defence, TRACK-TBI (a study funded by NIH) and the National Institute of Aging, a branch of NIH, according to the NFL.
‘‘We know this is the type of work we need to better our understanding of these diseases,’’ Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, said yesterday. ‘‘These contributions are certainly going to result in improved understanding.’’
The NFL’s contribution includes US$7.65m each to the Department of Defence and TRACK-TBI (Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury) and US$2.25m to the National Institute of Ageing, according to the league.
‘‘These research initiatives represent important scientific projects, with proven track records of achievement that affect public health,’’ the NFL said. ‘‘Each of these research programmes receives substantial federal funding. Through this commitment, the league hopes to advance the understanding of concussion and other brain injuries, especially among athletes and veterans.’’
The new funding commitments come after the NFL was involved in controversy and scrutinised by members of Congress over a previous commitment to NIH research.
Under a 2012 agreement, the NFL was to provide US$30m to support NIH research into brain injuries and other medical conditions affecting athletes through the Sports Health and Research Programme.
That agreement with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health expired last August. Last July, just before the expiration, Democratic members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asking whether the league intended to fulfill its commitment. The lawmakers said there remained US$18m of that pledged commitment that had not been provided to research projects.
Most of that was attributable to a US$16.3m funding commitment by the NFL to a US$17.5m study by Boston University researcher Robert Stern that instead was funded by NIH.
A 2016 study by Democratic members of the same House committee alleged that the league 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 the accusations, saying it raised concerns appropriately and through proper channels. The Washington Post GETTY IMAGES
We know this is the type of work we need to better our understanding of these diseases.’ NFL CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER ALLEN SILLS
Tom Savage of the Houston Texans has suffered from concussion.