The union that represents U.S. professional football players has given Harvard University a $100 million grant for a study of the range of health problems, from brain damage to heart conditions, that affect current and former players.
Researchers with Harvard Medical School plan to spend a decade studying hundreds of former players who are members of the National Football League Players Association, university officials said on Tuesday. The aim is to develop strategies to limit the long-term damage that players suffer from years of hits on the field.
The recent suicides of a spate of former NFL players, including 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, have raised concerns about the toll that blows to the head take on the brains of current and former players.
Scientists have found that years of steady, small hits can lead to a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which at its start can cause victims to have a hard time concentrating on small tasks and eventually can lead to aggression and dementia.