Some new funding will make it easier for members of a UNC research organization to put their heads together — to reduce head injuries.
The Center for the Study of Retired Athletes recently received a $100,000 grant from the National Football League to research the long-term effects of concussions.
The center’s grant was matched by the NFL Players Association this year, putting the total funding at $200,000, said Kevin Guskiewicz, chairman of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science and principal investigator of the project.
Guskiewicz, who is a member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, said the goal of this research will be to build a distinct database identifying what the added exposure to head injuries of NFL players is compared to former college players.
He added that the NFL hadn’t always been supportive of his research.
“For a number of years the NFL has been critical of our work at UNC because they felt that we were painting an ugly picture of football and we were trying to convince them that our main goal is to improve safety in the sport,” he said.
This season, the NFL began to more aggressively take action against head-to-head tackles out of concern for players’ mental health. Several players received fines for such hits.
Judith Cone, special assistant to the chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship, praised the research for its innovative spirit.
“Here’s research that proves that this is an important thing,” she said.