League and GE announce prize-winning concussion research

Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:37am EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Six innovative studies on identifying concussions, the severity of brain trauma injuries and speed of the healing process have been named winners of the GE & NFL Head Health Challenge.

Some practical applications from the researchers, who each received a $500,000 award to advance their work, could be seen within the next two years, said Jeff Miller, the NFL senior vice president of the league's Health and Safety Policy.

"It's not too far in the future," Miller told Reuters in an interview.

"This partnership has proven to be all that we had hoped and vastly more in terms of being able to advance the neuro sciences in ways that will lead to better protection and the health and safety of our players.

"And have significant impacts beyond the soccer field, other sports and throughout our community and the military."

Head injuries have become a high priority for the NFL in recent years.

The issue of concussion and the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) on former players was intensified following the suicide deaths of Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, who shot themselves in the chest to preserve their brains for study.

In April, the league also reached a final settlement of a lawsuit brought by former players over concussions that could cost the NFL $1 billion.   Continued...

A football helmet's health warning sticker is pictured between a U.S. flag and the number 55, in memory of former student and NFL player Junior Seau, as the Oceanside Pirates high school football team prepares for their Friday night game in Oceanside, California September 14, 2012. Picture taken September 14, 2012.   REUTERS/Mike Blake