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  • NIH and NFL Award Grants for TBI Research

    A partnership created by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Football League (NFL) will be awarding over $14 million in grants for research focused on the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the development of better ways to diagnose and measure concussions.

    The Sports and Health Research Program issued a press release on December 16 announcing that 8 projects have been selected for the funding. Two major research efforts will receive $6 million each, and over $2 million in additional funding will be spread out over 6 pilot projects mostly focused on ways to better detect concussion presence and severity.

    The $6 million grants will be used to pursue research around chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). One project will seek to define a range of specific features of the disorder, and to distinguish these features from other conditions such as Alzheimer disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The second project will investigate the relationship between the effects of TBI and various features of CTE, with the aim of identifying markers to help diagnose the degenerative effects of TBI.

    The pilot grants are intended to support initial research into concussion. Grants were awarded to the following projects:

    • development of a portable eye tracking device that can be used on the sidelines to diagnose concussion and monitor severity;
    • investigation into the function of adolescents who have been cleared to return to play and the role of microRNAs as potential biomarkers for concussions and recovery;
    • evaluation of Spotlight, a mobile application designed to track progress of an individual from the time of concussion until return to play;
    • analysis of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) levels, a chemical important to brain function, in adolescents who have and have not suffered concussion;
    • research into whether somatosensory information processing could serve as a biomarker for concussion and recover in youth aged 13–17; and
    • study of the changes in metabolites in mice after concussion and whether the changes can be revealed in blood samples.

    The Sports Health Program is a partnership between NIH, the NFL, and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. In 2012, the NFL donated over $30 million to the NIH Foundation for research into injuries that affect athletes.


    • I am highly interested in the results of this research; as a PT, and as a mother of a former soccer player son who 'has had his bell rung' more than once.

      Posted by Constance Dinner on 12/21/2013 1:37 AM

    • I run a rehab dept that includes an Athletic Training program which has multiple school contracts. Trying to get the word out to all coaches, teachers, E.R. docs regarding concussions. would appreciate updates regarding this research.

      Posted by Karen McGillin on 1/2/2014 3:50 PM

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