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NFL Commissioner, GE Chairman To Kick Off 1st And Future Event At Super Bowl LI

Roger Goodell and Jeff Immelt, partners in the GE-NFL Head Health Initiative, will take part in a discussion on innovation and sports safety to kick off the annual start-up competition

NEW YORK, Jan. 25, 2017 — The National Football League (NFL) and the Texas Medical Center (TMC) today announced that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and GE CEO and Chairman Jeff Immelt will kick off 1st and Future, the league's annual Super Bowl start-up competition, at the TMC Innovation Institute in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, February 4, at 9:00am. Moderated by TMC President and CEO Dr. Robert C. Robbins, the conversation will focus on marketplace disruption through industry partnerships and open-innovation challenges.

In 2013, GE and the NFL debuted the Head Health Initiative, which invited innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop solutions that would make concussion diagnosis faster and more reliable and improve treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Each year, the NFL partners with technology and innovation leaders in the Super Bowl host city to recruit startup companies with technology to advance player safety and performance. The 2017 1st and Future competition at TMC will focus on innovations that advance sports technology and athlete safety.

Startups have submitted entries in three categories—Communicating with the Athlete, Training the Athlete and Materials to Protect the Athlete—for the chance to pitch their innovation to competition judges in front of an exclusive audience, including NFL team owners and executives and representatives from the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and the Texas Medical Center.

Scott Hanson of the NFL Network and host of NFL RedZone, will emcee the pitch competition, and the panel of judges will include:

  • Ed Egan, Ph.D., Director of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Rice University's Baker Institute
  • Rich Ellenbogen, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center and Co-Chairman of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee
  • Bernard Harris, M.D., M.B.A, CEO and Managing Partner of Vesalius Ventures
  • Mae Jemison, M.D., Principal, 100 Year Starship
  • Chad Pennington, former NFL quarterback, NFL Legend
  • Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Ventures and healthymagination
  • John Urschel, Baltimore Ravens guard and center

The NFL and TMC will select up to nine companies from the three categories to compete in Houston. One winner from each category will receive a $50,000 check from the NFL to further develop their innovation; acceptance into TMCx, TMC's world-renowned program for start-ups; and two tickets to Super Bowl LI.

TMC will livestream the full 1st and Future event—including the discussion between Commissioner Goodell and Jeff Immelt—on the TMC website as contestants compete in the following three categories:

  • Communicating with the Athlete: New technologies that will improve the secure and safe means of communication between a coach on the sideline or in the coaches' booth and a designated player on the field.
  • Training the Athlete: Educational and training innovations designed to reduce injury during practice or competition. Innovations may include training techniques or equipment.
  • Materials to Protect the Athlete: Novel or innovative solutions and materials that advance player health and safety while allowing for the highest level of performance. Innovations may include, but are not limited to, materials that: improve breathability, heat dissipation or provide better protection for players by absorbing or mitigating force. These materials may be incorporated into protective equipment, padding, uniforms or footwear among other potential uses.

For information on the competition's selection criteria and official rules, visit

About TMC

What was sparked with the founding of a single hospital in Houston in 1925 has come to be the Texas Medical Center (TMC) today. Home to 59 member institutions, including 21 hospitals, 13 support organizations, nine academic and research institutions, six nursing programs, four public health organizations, three medical schools, four universities, two pharmacy schools and a dental school, TMC operates the world's largest medical city with eight million patients and family encounters with doctors, nurses and staff at TMC every year. TMC is dedicated to reinventing life sciences to improve the health and wellness of Houston, and the world. Learn more at

Media Contacts:

Kamran Mumtaz, NFL - - (212) 450-2631

Christen David, TMC - - (713) 791-8838

SOURCE Texas Medical Center

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