What do the NFL, General Electric and Under Armour have in common? Each of these three brands are working together in the fight to reduce head trauma. Yesterday I was in attendance at the press conference when Jeff Immelt, the Chairman and CEO of GE announced a $60 million initiative in partnership with the NFL to create the tools needed that distinguish head trauma clearly and quickly after impact.
The Head Health Initiative
The initiative has two components: a four-year $40 million research challenge to for imaging that will determine biomarkers in the brain and a two-year innovation challenge investing up to $20 million in technology to better diagnose mild traumatic brain injury.
In a panel discussion led by Dr. Nancy Snyderman, experts agreed that it is vital that we eliminate silos in order to move forward in the field of head trauma. With current technology they are beginning to get an idea of the brain’s structure to function relationship after suffering a concussion. If this initiative can provide advances in diagnostic tools and imaging, doctors will have the diagnostic tools they need to determine whether an individual’s brain can be repaired and further damage can be prevented.
The first research challenge will take a whole brain approach to determine the key Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) biomarkers for potential diagnosis, outcome prediction and therapy management for patients with mild traumatic brain injury. Secondly, the NFL is partnering with GE to find, fund and bring to market ideas that accelerate solutions for brain protection.
Kevin Plank, Founder and CEO of Under Armour spoke about the company’s support for the initiative. Having been a long time fan of inviting people to submit their ideas for better products and productivity (http://investor.underarmour.com/submit-an-idea.cfm), he spoke openly about reaching new heights by leveraging ideas, taking an open view and continuing to innovate from within.
The ultimate goal of the initiative is to bring better health to more people by improving the safety of athletes playing any sport, the military and ultimately, everyone. Lieutenant General Patricia Oromo, Surgeon General of the Army and Commanding General of the United States Army Medical Command was in attendance at the press conference and spoke on how critical it is that we as a nation do this well. This initiative could be groundbreaking not just for our men and women in service but for our nation as whole. Mark Emmert, President of the NCAA echoed that statement, speaking on behalf of the 460,000 who participate in 23 different college sports throughout the country.
To learn more about the Head Health initiative, go to: NFLGEBrainChallenge.com.