NFF Board Members ‘Lead the Charge to Find New Insights on Mild Brain Injuries’

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame highlighted last week the progress made by GE, led by NFF Board Member Jeff Immelt, and the NFL, led by NFF Board Member Roger Goodell, with their $60 million Head Health Initiative, which was launched in March 2013 to speed diagnosis and improve treatment for mild traumatic brain injury.


“College football, a sport that has been played 147 years, has never been safer,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “In the past decade, the awareness of brain injuries has become of paramount concern to everybody. This is certainly true with football, but the concern transcends all sports and into all walks of life from the military to everyday activities. College football has taken numerous steps to address the issue, and we are proud that two of our board members have taken leadership roles in expanding that knowledge, which will benefit not only football and other sports but our entire society.”


The latest results came July 23 with the announcement of the six final winners of the $10 million Head Health Challenge I, whose innovations are advancing the understanding and diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury. The winners, who each were among 16 first-round organizations that received $300,000 in initial funding, have been awarded an additional $500,000 each to continue their research. Their breakthrough ideas include: point-of-care blood test to rapidly detect the presence of mild and moderate brain trauma; biomarkers that indicate how the brain reacts following a traumatic brain injury (TBI); and a method to identify which brain areas become disconnected after injury.


“What happened on football fields just has created the character, the foundation of a lot of American competitiveness, which has allowed this country to be successful for so many decades,” said NFF Board Member and GE Chairman & CEO Jeff Immelt, who played college football at Dartmouth. “It is such a beautiful game. It is this massive array of strategy, competitiveness, athleticism that I just think it would be the worst tragedy that I could imagine that if we ever allow anything to change this great game.”


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