NFL: Grants awarded for brain studies

Chris Borland, a former NFL linebacker, testifies before a Illinois House Mental Health Committee hearing. Borland was illustrating how repetitive sub-concussive hits can be as dangerous as a single hit that results in a concussion.
(Rich Saal / Associated Press)

The NFL is awarding more than $35 million in funding to five organizations conducting research into diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries.

Through its Scientific Advisory Board established as part of its “Play Smart. Play Safe” initiative, the NFL is awarding grants to investigative teams focusing on concussions and associated conditions.

Receiving the funding will be: Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, $14,698,132; the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, $6,070,384; the University of Calgary, $9,438,473; UC San Francisco, $3,454,080; and the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Harvard Medical School, $1,583,138.

Having awarded $35 million of the NFL’s $40-million commitment made in 2016, the league has allocated the remaining $5 million to further medical research focused on player health and safety. The funds will be distributed under the guidance of SAB’s chairman, Gen. Peter Chiarelli. The retired U.S. Army general led the Department of Defense efforts on post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and suicide prevention.


“We saw their translational values,” Chiarelli said Thursday. “They supplemented ongoing research that already showed great promise. We were focused on the patient, and of the eight that we asked to come back and brief us for 30 minutes and answer questions, these five had the greatest opportunity to help patients, and to help understand and prevent injury in the future. That was our unified goal in picking the final five.”

Former defensive lineman has ALS

Former Syracuse and NFL defensive lineman Tim Green has revealed he has Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Green wrote in a Facebook post that for the past five years he’s been coping with “neurological problems” in his hands. He says doctors first thought the damage his elbows had received during his playing days in the 1980s and 1990s was the culprit. But the problems didn’t go away after surgery and his voice also began to get weak before he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.


Green, 54, played eight seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.


Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has teamed up with Barstool Sports to raise money for Special Olympics, an organization he first made a personal connection with while playing at Oklahoma. Mayfield has helped create a line of clothing merchandise with 100% of the sales proceeds going to Special Olympics Ohio.