NFL Charities awards $1.5 million in sports medical research grants

Commitment to Medical Research Totals Over $20 Million In 9 Years

NFL Charities, the charitable foundation of the National Football League, has awarded $1.5 million in grants to support sports-related medical research at 11 organizations, the NFL announced Tuesday.

The NFL has long supported sports-related medical research through NFL Charities Medical Research Grants.

Since 2000, NFL Charities has committed more than $20 million in grants to medical facilities nationwide to address issues including studies on mild traumatic brain injury, ACL injury prevention and heat stress risks. Overall, the NFL has spent more than $5 million to research concussions and other brain injuries during the past decade, including the NFL Charities grants in this area.

A four-member panel of medical experts evaluates and recommends grantees each year that must be approved by the NFL Charities board. This year's grants include studies on knee biomechanics, artery blockage in retired players and stem cell usage for tendon repair.

"NFL Charities Medical Research Grants strive to make the game of football and all athletics safer by supporting a broad range of the best sports-related medical research proposals," said Vanderbilt University Head Team Physician Dr. Kurt Spindler, who is the chairman of the NFL Medical Grant Committee. "The goal is to look at some of the many risk factors that exist not only for football players, but in all athletics."

This year's NFL Charities grants include a $124,000 grant to the University of South Florida towards a study on heat stress risks.

"This grant from NFL Charities means more than just another funded research project to us. It means we are one step closer to being able to protect youth, collegiate and professional athletes who participate in sports in the heat," added Dr. Eric Coris, Associate Professor, Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine at the University of South Florida.

NFL Charities granted $80,000 to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for a study on ACL injuries.

"The award from NFL Charities this year is especially meaningful as it helps to further the work of the MARS (Multi-center ACL Revision Study) group, which is an 87 surgeon multicenter trial," said Dr. Rick Wright, Principal Investigator at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "The work we are doing would have struggled to continue without this support."

Formed in 1973, NFL Charities is a nonprofit organization that enables the league to contribute collectively to charitable causes on a national level. NFL Charities, which has approved more than $120 million in grants to more than 600 different organizations, approves grants annually to support sports-related medical research, youth health programs, and the charitable work of current and retired NFL players.

2009 NFL Charities Medical Grant Recipients

Baylor College of Medicine
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Georgia Institute of Technology
Oregon Health & Science University
Rush University Medical Center
University of Missouri, Columbia
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
University of California, Davis
University of South Florida College of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

NFL Charities Board
Commissioner Roger Goodell; Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue; Charlotte Jones Anderson, Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President/Director of Charities; Michael Bidwell, Arizona Cardinals President; Mary Owen, Buffalo Bills Vice President of Strategic Planning; Alan Page, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and Pro Football Hall of Fame Member; Delores Barr Weaver, Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation CEO.

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