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NFL Charities Awards More Than $1.6 Million in Sports Medical Research Grants

Almost $1 Million Dedicated to Concussion Prevention and Treatment


Columbus, OH - 12/21/2010

NFL Charities, the charitable foundation of the National Football League owners, has awarded more than $1.6 million in grants to support sports-related medical research at 16 organizations, the NFL announced today.  Of these grants, $988,224 will go to studying concussion prevention and treatment. A full list of recipient organizations is below.

“We are proud to support sports-related medical research proposals through NFL Charities Medical Research Grants,” said COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL, President of the NFL Charities Board. “These grants will help to address risk factors for football players and all athletes, and make the game safer.”

NFL Charities has actively solicited and placed emphasis on research proposals focused on concussion/traumatic brain injury research, cardiovascular research and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.  Three separate NFL Charities Medical Grant review committees evaluated the 2010 grant proposals based on each committee’s area of expertise.  Recommendations were submitted to the NFL Charities Board of Directors for approval. 

This year’s grants include studies on association between football exposure and dementia in retired football players; concussion surveillance among a large national sample of middle school football players; the role of cervical spine in football-related concussion; examining how genetics may influence the outcome after repeated concussions; an integrated neuroimaging study for diagnosing and monitoring mild TBI in football players; the dynamic heart rate behavior of NFL athletes; and the prevalence, distribution and fate of MRSA on synthetic turf grass systems;

The NFL has supported sports-related medical research for decades through NFL Charities Medical Research Grants. Since 2000, NFL Charities has committed grants to medical facilities nationwide, including studies on brain injury, ACL injury prevention and heat stress risks. 

2010 NFL Charities Medical Grant Recipients:

  • Cleveland Clinic - Lutheran Hospital -- Examining the role of cervical spine in football-related concussions.  
  • Johns Hopkins University -- Examining neuroinflammatory pathways in NFL players with cognitive impairment.    
  • Massachusetts General Hospital for Children & Children’s Hospital Boston -- Development of a mouse concussion model and examining how genetics may influence the outcome after repeated concussions.
  • The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Center for Injury Research and Policy -- Establishing a surveillance system to record rates and patterns of concussions among a large national sample of middle school aged football players.
  • University of California Los Angeles, Brain Injury Research Center -- A study of the long-term effects of single and multiple concussions on learning and brain cell damage.
  • University of California-San Diego School of Medicine -- A project developing a neuro-imaging technique using Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) for detecting neuronal injuries not visible using conventional CT or MRI in football players with mild traumatic brain injury.
  • University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill: Center for the Study of Retired Athletes -- A study on the association between football exposure and dementia in retired football players. Project will study retired football players and aim to determine if individuals with increased football exposure and/or increased MTBI are more likely to develop neurodegenerative disorders compared to those without increased exposure beyond college.
  • University of Notre Dame-College of Science -- Design and development of therapeutics for the treatment of traumatic brain injury.
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Department of Orthopaedic Surgery- UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program -- A study of the neurocognitive effects of concussion among youth football players aged 8-12 years using a new pediatric neurocognitive concussion test. The study will also examine risk factors for concussion including body size, age, and competition level.
  • University of Rochester -- Research on changes in brain matter after multiple head blows.
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles -- Research on red blood cell metabolism in carriers of sickle cell trait and its consequences for athletes.
  • Cornell University/Weill Cornell Medical College -- A project focusing on developing living, tissue engineered implants to restore spinal function for patients with degenerative disc disease.
  • Ohio State University Research Foundation -- Research on the effect of season and level of play on articular cartilage health in collegiate linemen.
  • University of Southern California -- A study of the dynamic heart rate behavior of NFL athletes.    
  • University of Toledo -- A study to determine the prevalence and survival of infectious bacteria in artificial turfgrass systems.
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center -- Study on the significance of bone bruises as an outcome predictor after ACL injury.

NFL Charities is a non-profit organization created by the 32 member clubs of the National Football League to enable the teams to collectively make grants to charitable and worthwhile causes on a national scale. Since its inception, NFL Charities has granted more than $120 million to more than 640 different organizations.  NFL Charities’ primary funding categories include: sports-related medical research and education grants; player foundation grants in support of the philanthropic work of current and former NFL players; impact grants to support national youth health and fitness education initiatives as part of a league-wide commitment to fight childhood obesity; financial assistance for former NFL players in need via direct support to the NFL Player Care Foundation; team program grants which supplement the charitable and community activities of the 32 NFL clubs.

NFL Giving encompasses the many ways that the National Football League, including its clubs, owners and players, strengthen communities nationwide. While representing the NFL’s heritage of community commitment and charitable engagement, NFL Giving encourages long-term health and wellness in communities; fosters community citizenship and philanthropy; advances sports-related medical research and education; and supports the health and well being of our former NFL players.

In addition to League-wide community support programs as well as charitable dollars allocated by the 32 NFL teams and owners to community initiatives nationwide, several non-profit foundations support the NFL Giving initiative including NFL Charities, the NFL Youth Football Fund, NFL Disaster Relief Fund and Player Care Foundation.

NFL Charities Board
Commissioner ROGER GOODELL; Former Commissioner PAUL TAGLIABUE; CHARLOTTE JONES ANDERSON, Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President/Director of Charities; MICHAEL BIDWILL, Arizona Cardinals President; MARY OWEN, Buffalo Bills Vice President of Strategic Planning; ALAN PAGE, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and Pro Football Hall of Fame Member; DELORES BARR WEAVER, Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation CEO.

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