NFL helps NIH tackle re­search

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

The NFL and the NIH are two acronyms that you’ll rarely find in the same sen­tence.

But that was the case last week, when the Foun­da­tion for the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health an­nounced the Na­tional Football League agreed to do­nate $30 mil­lion for the foun­da­tion’s new Sports and Health Re­search Pro­gram. The phil­an­thropic gift—the largest in the league’s 92-year his­tory—made the NFL the found­ing donor to the new pro­gram, which an NIH spokes­woman says will in­volve mul- tiple NIH cen­ters and in­sti­tutes.

“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,” NFL Com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell said in a news re­lease.

The money will be used to sup­port med­i­cal re­search on con­di­tions that are com­mon in ath­letes and also rel­e­vant to the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. And while spe­cific plans are still in the works, po­ten­tial ar­eas of re­search in­clude chronic trau­matic en­cephalopa­thy, con­cus­sion, chronic de­gen­er­a­tive joint dis­ease, and the po­ten­tial re­la­tion­ship be­tween trau­matic brain in­jury and late-life neuro-de­gen­er­a­tive dis­or­ders such as Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

“Find­ings from this re­search will pro­vide us with bet­ter ways to de­tect, di­ag­nose and treat these con­di­tions, and in some cases, even pre­vent their oc­cur­rence,” Story Lan­dis, di­rec­tor of the NIH’s Na­tional In­sti­tute of Neu­ro­log­i­cal Dis­or­ders and Stroke, said in the an­nounce­ment.

The league’s sec­ond-largest phil­an­thropic gift went to or­ga­ni­za­tions re­lated to the Sept. 11, 2001 at­tacks and to­taled $10 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman.

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