While the Super Bowl went without any clear incidents of brain injury, the topic still hung around the day like a dark cloud, which the NFL tried to disarm as well as they could. While the NFL is often painted as the villain in the conversation, and occasionally they kind of have been, it is important to note all the improvements they have made in the name of trying to keep players’ brains and bodies safe.
Of course, they tell us about these achievements all the time now, in attempts to offset all the dirty history being dug up about the NFL’s handling of brain injury, but that isn’t to say they haven’t done some legitimate good out of their investments in research and development for prevention of brain and other bodily injuries.
According to The New York Times, the NFL is making another big move in the area of brain injury, this time with General Electric. On February 2, the day before the Super Bowl, the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell announced that they would be partnering with G.E. for a four-year initiative being financed with at least $50 million from both partners.
The goal of the partnership is to jump-start the development of imaging technology that could be used to detect brain injuries, as well as engineering of better materials for protecting the brain.
The two giant corporations hope that they can create short-term improvements and solutions to begin better preventing and detecting brain injury while long term research plays out. Of course, the league’s involvement is comes to little more than throwing money at a problem. But, it is very possible it could lead to innovations, and it is only one of a few ways they have announced they would hope to better handle brain injury.
The NFL has also announced that beginning next season, independent neurological consultants will be standing on the sidelines, hopefully acting as unbiased diagnosticians for brain injury when players and coaches may be influenced by emotions.