The NFL is getting proactive when it comes to concussions.
The New York Times' Judy Battista reported the league has partnered with General Electric for a four-year initiative to begin the "development of imaging technology that would detect concussions and encourage the creation of materials to better protect the brain." The program is slated to begin in March with a $50 million investment.
"Is this their way of defending themselves with this cloud over the sport? I'd be lying if I told you it had nothing to do with it," said Kevin Guskiewicz, founding director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at the University of North Carolina. "They've got to protect their image right now; the headlines are not good headlines. Football has an image problem. There is some of that, but I do think the NFL is smart to partner with some major technology gurus."
Guskiewicz should know. He's on the league's Head, Neck and Spine Committee and chairman of a subcommittee that deals with safety equipment and rules.
The goal is to develop machines that can predict who might sustain a concussion, show the degree of a brain injury and the rate of recovery in real-time. The second part is to create material for better helmets and protective equipment.
This only makes sense. The league has the resources to fund this type of research. A company like GE has the scientific minds and development capabilities.