Now that the lights are back on at the Super Bowl, I thought I’d take a minute to highlight some research I’m actually pretty excited for. Harvard University and the NFL are teaming up and dedicating $100 million to study brain injury in players over the next 10 years.
I’m happy about this research not just because I think we owe it to players who may be living with consequences they never realized they could have (especially the non-super stars), but also because I think brain injuries are a seriously under recognized issue in every day people. Even if the research starts with football players, I have a feeling we’ll all benefit from research around how injury harms the brain.
As a wrestling fan and a BU alum, I’ve been following the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy for a while now. It’s a collaboration between the BU med school and the Sports Legacy Institute, which was founded by former professional wrestler Christopher Nowinski (he was the WWF’s first Harvard grad). They’ve been doing good work in this area, in part by getting athletes to sign on to donating their brains post-mortem.
The research here could be truly stunning, since your control group is huge but your study group is motivated. Between these two groups, it’s going to be interesting to see what they come out with….and what the game looks like 10 years from now.