Harvard Medical School (HMS) has received a $100 million grant from the National Football League Players Association to fund a 10-year study aimed at diagnosing, treating and preventing players’ injuries and illnesses. Growing evidence shows that NFL players’ lifespan and quality of life are significantly reduced due to head and skeletal injuries, as well as other health risks including hypertension, abnormal lipids, obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation, prolonged use of pain medications, and alcohol and substance abuse.
As part of the groundbreaking program, researchers will partner with some 1,000 former NFL players from across the country to identify 100 healthy and 100 unhealthy players. The study seeks to study the whole player and will include experts in clinical areas, including epidemiology, genetics, cell biology, neurobiology, bone metabolism and repair, and regenerative medicine.
The program is a joint collaboration between Harvard’s 10 schools and 16 affiliated academic health care centers. Lee Nadler, MD, HMS dean for clinical and translational research and director of the Harvard Catalyst, will serve as director and Ross Zafonte, DO, chief of MGH Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as co-director. William Meehan, MD, director of the Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention and director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will be associate directors.
Read more articles from the 02/01/13 Hotline issue.