NFL Charities, the charitable foundation of the National Football League (NFL) owners, has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes at UNC to support concussion research. In addition, the NFL Players Association matched that grant for a total of $200,000. The principal investigator is Kevin Guskiewicz, Ph.D., Kenan Distinguished Professor and chair of the department of exercise and sport science in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences.
As we wrote in this blog last August, research has shown that multiple concussions may cause brain damage that mimics the devastating effects of the neurological disorder known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Severe concussion trauma is found most often in people who suffer repeated head injury during their careers, such as soldiers and football players. In 2010, the NFL implemented new guidelines for dealing with concussion, and they began fining players for violating the rules of player safety.
This new grant will support continued research by UNC into the association between football head injury and dementia later in life. The project will study retired football players and try to determine if individuals who played more football, or who had more concussions (mild traumatic brain injury, or MTBI) are more likely to develop neurodegenerative disorders, compared to those who didn’t play football beyond college.
All of us here at HensonFuerst would like to send congratulations to UNC and to Dr. Guskiewicz for continuing to do good work, and for maintaining UNC’s international reputation for innovation and excellence!
HensonFuerst blog: Brain Trauma May Mimic Lou Gehrig’s Disease
HensonFuerst Blog: NFL Backing Concussion Program with Fines
UNC Press Release: NFL Awards $100,000 Grant
News & Observer article: NFL Turns to UNC for Concussion Research
HensonFuerst website, with additional information about concussion: HensonFuerst