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NFL LONG Study: Improving life beyond the game

What is the NFL LONG Study?

NFL LONG stands for Neurologic Function across the Lifespan: a Prospective, LONGitudinal, and Translational Study for Former National Football League Players.

The NFL LONG Study is a state-of-the-art research program to develop strategies for preventing and treating the neurological health problems experienced by former NFL players.

By joining our program, former NFL players will have the opportunity to:

  • Enter clinical trials of the most promising therapies that emerge from our work
  • Undergo cutting-edge diagnostic studies of neurological health
  • Receive regular updates regarding our progress and research findings
  • Contribute to the development of preventative measures and therapies for maximizing the long-term brain health of former NFL players

We are a group of researchers who have dedicated our careers to studying and improving the health of athletes. Our team consists of respected leaders in the fields of athlete health, sport-related concussion, and emerging therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. We focus on conducting impactful science, independent of the influences of social and popular media, and share our scientific findings directly with participants.

What is the relationship between concussions and long-term health problems?

Concern has been growing that repetitive concussions may lead to chronic neurologic health problems later in life. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease, has been reported in post-mortem studies of former NFL players. Despite extensive media coverage, however, questions remain regarding the relationship between concussions and long-term health issues, and whether these can be prevented.

Building on more than a decade of investigations into the acute and chronic effects of sport-related concussions and sub-concussive blows, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital are collaborating with the University of North Carolina, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to study former NFL players and their long-term neurological health. Our ultimate goal is to improve player safety and quality of life for athletes of all ages.

Research for CTE

We are currently recruiting former NFL players to participate in this study.

Our approach to research

We will test multiple potential preventative and therapeutic strategies to reduce or prevent the long-term impact of CTE. At the same time, we will conduct a prospective, longitudinal study of neurologic health outcomes associated with concussion and sub-concussive exposure in former NFL players. The most promising treatment(s) from our laboratory studies will ultimately be translated into clinical trials for individuals identified during our clinical study who are at risk for long-term neurologic health problems.

Approach to NFL Long Study

What we hope to accomplish

We are investigating ways to diagnose CTE in living players. We are also looking at several experimental treatments that have the potential to improve health and quality of life for former players and young athletes at risk of developing CTE.

In addition, we are assessing the association between concussions, sub-concussive blows, CTE, and clinical outcomes. We hope to provide former players, current athletes, coaches, and parents more clarity on the potential relationship between concussive brain injury and long-term health outcomes.

Through this research, we aim to help former NFL players who are experiencing neurological issues. At the same time, we will be working to develop knowledge that can be used in the future to improve the health and wellbeing of young athletes who play football and other high-impact sports.

For 150 years, families have come from around the corner and across the world, looking to Boston Children's for answers. This is the place where the most difficult challenges are faced head on, where the impossible becomes possible, and where families in search of answers find them.

Sandra L. Fenwick, CEO

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