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NFL research grant could help veterans, troops with brain injuries

WASHINGTON – Officials at the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday that the National Football League has donated $30 million to study the long-term effects of head injuries and other blunt-force trauma, with the goal of finding helping both athletes and the general population.

That includes military personnel and veterans, many of whom suffer the same concussive brain injuries and resulting mental disorders as professional football players.

FNIH researchers said specifics on how the money will be spent are still to be determined, but work will include studying how head injuries can result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy, traumatic brain injury, late-life neurodegenerative disorders and Alzheimer’s disease – all problems seen in returning war veterans.

The announcement comes just hours before the start of the 2012 NFL season, and a week after NFL and Army officials announced plans for a joint initiative to research and prevent concussions.

In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he hopes the grant will “help accelerate the medical community’s pursuit of pioneering research” and benefit “athletes at all levels and others, including members of our military.”

 

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