Federal agencies that are currently invested in research into traumatic brain injury will soon access millions of dollars in funds that could help accelerate the pace of progress in this field. The National Football League, an organization that has come under increasing fire due to its failure to reduce the risk of head injury involving its players, has announced a $30 million grant to help fund brain injury research. The NFL is faced with several lawsuits that have been filed by retired football players, who claim that the organization did not warn players about the long-term health consequences of repeated concussions to the head.
The grant has been made to the National Institutes of Health, and the money will likely be used to help understand the long-term effects of a brain injury, not just among NFL athletes, but also among veterans injured during combat. The National Institutes of Health says that over the long-term, the kind of research conducted with this kind of money will benefit not just athletes and veterans, but also members of the general public who suffer brain injuries in automobile and trucking accidents, and workplace accidents.
The research money is likely to be used especially to study the link between head injury and the development of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s diseases and other neurological disorders later in life. For instance, there has been a increasing body of research that links brain injury to Alzheimer’s Disease. The National Institute is likely to use the grant money to study this link further.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 1.7 million people in the United States suffer a traumatic brain injury every year. Approximately 75% of these are mild injuries, but the remaining are serious enough to impact the person’s mental and cognitive abilities for the rest of his life.