NFL HEALTH AND SAFETY UPDATE — JANUARY 3, 2013
Howie Long Discusses Approach to Safety as a ‘Football Dad’
NFL great Howie Long spoke with USA Today recently on his approach to his sons’ participation in college-level and professional football.
“The most important thing for parents is that, whoever is coaching your son or daughter, the game is taught the right way. … And in football, it’s about defending yourself,” Long told USA Today.
“I text Chris before his games, ‘See what you hit, keep your head up,’ ” he added.
For the full story, click here.
NIH recaps first workshop supported by sports and health research program
The NIH published a report on the Neuropathology of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Workshop, a two-day meeting held in December and supported by the Sports and Health Research Program, the newly created, public-private partnership of the NIH, the Foundation for the NIH, and the National Football League (NFL). The workshop and proposed research are being funded by the NFL’s previously announced $30 million unrestricted grant to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
More than 50 scientists attended the workshop to discuss chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Attending scientists, who came from across the country, are experts in experts in neurodegenerative disease. They participated along with representatives with military and sports backgrounds.
The goal of the meeting was to establish what is currently known about CTE, discuss what medical, organizational and imaging advances are needed to gain a better understanding of the condition, challenges faced by researchers and what questions research needs to answer.
A major challenge in understanding CTE is that the condition cannot be detected by current imaging technology — such as MRI and PET scans. Therefore, researchers can only observe a brain with the condition after an individual has passed away. According to Dr. Harmuth Kolb, Vice President of biomarker research at Siemens Healthcare, work is underway to validate novel PET biological markers that would allow doctors to detect abnormalities in the brain that are associated with neurodegenerative disease — such as CTE. Development of a PET marker that identifies tau protein (the protein associated with CTE) in living people would be a major breakthrough in understanding the condition.
Most importantly, the meeting helped to define the many questions that need to be answered by future research. For example, can genetics predispose someone to CTE? What is the number of impacts to the head that cause CTE? These questions and the search for their answers will help to guide their research moving forward.
To read the NIH’s full report on the workshop, click here.
– NFL Communications