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What is the NFL-LONG Study?

The NFL-LONG Study is designed to understand and improve the well-being of former NFL players. Our goal is to better understand factors associated with long-term neurological health that are unique to NFL players. We are studying multiple potential therapies and preventative measures that could mitigate possible long-term neurological problems.

Why should I participate in the NFL-LONG Study?

Participation will help us discover the health-related needs and concerns of former NFL players. The more former players that participate in the study, the more information we can report back to former players and the clinicians that care for them.

What do I have to do if I choose to participate?

  • Phase 1: Complete a general health questionnaire via email or hard copy.
  • Phase 2: Those who qualify may be asked to complete a phone screen that includes a short neurocognitive assessment and/or a computerized assessment of brain function.
  • Phase 3: Some participants will be invited to a 2½-day on-campus visit at either the University of North Carolina or the Medical College of Wisconsin. This study visit will include brain imaging, bio-specimen collection, neurocognitive testing, and questionnaires.

How do I participate?

If you would like to participate in the NFL-LONG Study, please click here to fill out our intake form. You may also contact Sarah Willwerth at to request a hard copy of the intake form or to check if you have previously completed it.

Is this study associated with the National Football League (NFL)?

This is an independent study. Although the funding for the study is provided by the NFL, neither the NFL nor its representatives play any role in the research. The NFL does not oversee what we study, how we study it, how we publish the findings, or any other aspect of the study, including participant data.

Will my data be kept private?

We have obtained a certificate of confidentiality preventing outside parties from accessing data related to the study. This certificate protects your personal information from any forced or compelled disclosure. Learn more at this link.

Who has access to my personal information?

Only study personnel at the University of North Carolina, Medical College of Wisconsin, and Harvard Medical School have access to identifiable information collected as part of the NFL-LONG Study. The NFL does not have access to your personal information.

If I enroll in the study, do I have access to my data? If yes, how would I receive my data?

If you are selected to participate in an on-campus visit, we will provide you with a letter containing your personal results from some of the the tests performed. Once the study is complete, all the data will be de-identified and analyzed to answer our research questions. We will share our findings directly with study participants.

Who is benefitting from this study?

This study is for former, current, and future NFL players. Although the study itself focuses on former NFL players, the results will also benefit athletes in other sports.

What precautions are in place to prevent COVID-19?

Our study team follows the recommendations from the CDC and local health authorities in partnership with our institutional infectious disease specialists. These protocols are subject to change and are courrently as follows:

  1. Telephone screenings 24 hours prior to the scheduled visit.
  2. Rescreening on arrival and before the study visit begins, to confirm that there are no symptoms. All participants, staff, and visitors are masked upon arrival to the research site.
  3. During face-to-face visits, everyone is currently required to wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of six feet whenever possible, regardless of vaccinaton status. We follow medical hand hygiene protocols before and after face-to-face interaction.
  4. Regularly touched surfaces and objects are wiped with an approved disinfectant on a regular schedule.