General Electric and the NFL are donating $50 million to finance a four year initiative to develop brain imaging technology to detect concussions. At the same time, they will work on developing helmets that will more effectively protect the brain.
Until recently, the NFL has denied a link between brain damage and football. Kevin Guskiewicz, a founding director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at University of North Carolina, says that the NFL has to “protect their image right now; the headlines are not good headlines…football has an image problem.”
The NFL hopes the partnership with GE, a leader in diagnostic imaging, will help improve the image of the NFL.
GE’s first step will focus on specialized imaging equipment to detect head trauma. Researchers hope that a PET (positron emission tomography), scan will help diagnose CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) to determine which players are more vulnerable. This would help coaches and doctors determine when a player can safely return to play.
The second stage will work at improving helmets and other protective devices. A challenge has been issued to inventors, scientists, and entrepreneurs for their ideas on how to improve safety equipment in football.
Protecting players has become more urgent for the NFL. The desire to see these projects begin and help solve brain injury disease will ensure safety for all players.
For More Information:
- NFL Joins with GE in Effort to Detect Concussions, The New York Times
- The NFL Teams Up with GE on Concussion Technology, PopSci