Skip to main content

NFL Health Update: GE's Sue Siegel thrilled by Head Health entries



The Head Health Initiative is a four-year, $60 million collaboration to speed diagnosis and improve treatment for mild traumatic brain injury. Comprised of two Head Health Challenges, the initiative was created with GE and is also supported by Under Armour. Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Ventures, recently answered questions on the importance of this initiative and GE's commitment to medical research.

Why was it important that GE work with the NFL on advancing the science around diagnosing and treating head injuries? How did the idea come together?

At GE we pride ourselves on working with our partners to take on the toughest challenges. And few things are more important than getting smarter about the human brain. The brain is the most complex structure in the world. But what we have learned to date represents only a tiny fraction of the possibilities. Our knowledge of the brain is as much as 50 years behind understanding of nearly every other organ in the body.

GE and the NFL came together out of a shared interest to change that. With the right commitment, what we learn in the next few years can eclipse everything we've ever learned about the brain to date. And it's critical that we do. We know how important this is to the NFL and the sport of football. But we also know that the discoveries we hope to make will extend far beyond professional sports, to our military and to trauma victims worldwide.

What was your reaction to the volume and quality of the submissions received for the first Head Health Challenge?

We were excited and impressed! The submissions to the first Head Health Challenge included more than 400 submissions from over 25 countries with about half coming from distinguished academic institutions. The applications have been through a rigorous review process and the judges are going through final review now. We are excited to announce winners early next year.

How do you see the Head Health Initiative impacting science and innovation in the future?

The goals of the Head Health Challenges are to advance the prevention, detection and management of mild traumatic brain injuries. Our pledge is to find, fund and move forward ground-breaking innovations that should help improve the diagnosis of TBI, and the outlook for those that are diagnosed with it. In addition to helping athletes of all types, it is our hope that these technologies should also benefit our military and civilians with head trauma. It lays the foundation for even further advances to come in this important field.

At GE, we're very committed to research and development and have great researchers. But we're not going to invent every great idea. We don't have all the answers. By putting our brains together with the NFL, Under Armour and the scientific community, we can advance brain science. We can apply our learning to everything from concussions to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. We can improve the understanding of our command center, the brain.


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell joined Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt for a Moms Football Safety Clinic on Tuesday.

Approximately 300 mothers attended the clinic at the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex, where they had the opportunity to ask Commissioner Goodell and Hunt questions. The attendees rotated through stations on topics important to youth safety in sports, including:

  • Concussion Awareness with DR. Paul Camarata, chair of neurosurgery for The University of Kansas Hospital, and DR. Joe Waeckerle, clinical professor at the University of Missouri -- Kansas City School of Medicine.
  • Parental engagement panel including Heads Up Football Advisory Committee members and football moms Christine Golic and Diane Long and Greg Smith, head football coach at Smithville High School.
  • Heat, Hydration & Nutrition with Dr. Randy Goldstein, director of the youth sports clinic at The University of Kansas Hospital & Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery.
  • Heads Up Tackling with USA Football & former Chiefs players Shawn Barber (Heads Up Football Ambassador), Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Bell, Keith Cash, Anthony Davis (Heads Up Football Ambassador), Kendall Gammon, Eddie Kennison, Ken Kremer, Mike Maslowski, Jon McGraw, Will Shields, Ricky Siglar and Casey Wiegmann.

The NFL hosted its first free Moms Football Safety Clinic in August at Ohio State University. Several NFL clubs have also hosted Health and Safety Forums for parents, youth football coaches and youth players.


Former NFL players now serving as Heads Up Football Ambassadors have been spending time with youth football leagues across the country, reinforcing proper tackling and the positive values of football participation.

Eric Hipple, former quarterback for the Detroit Lions, attended the end-of-season banquet for the Lincoln Park Jr. Rails in Southgate, Mich.

Patrick Sapp, former linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers, visited Mt. Pleasant Youth Association's end of season banquet in Greenville, S.C.

-- NFL Communications

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.