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 football 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 four other leading organizations to study former NFL players and their long-term neurological health, with the ultimate goal of improving player safety and quality of life for athletes of all ages.

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

What We Hope to Accomplish

We are investigating 1) ways of diagnosing CTE during life and 2) several treatments with the potential to improve health and quality of life for former players and young athletes. In addition, as part of this five-year study we are assessing the association between concussion, 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 experiencing neurological issues and develop knowledge that will help young athletes who play football and other high-impact sports.

How to Participate

If you are a former NFL player and want to learn more about participating in the NFL-LONG study, please fill out the form below.

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Research Team

Principal Investigator

  • William P. Meehan III, MD
    Director, Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention
    Director of Research, Brain Injury Center, Boston Children’s Hospital

Co-principal Investigators

  • Kun Ping Lu, MD, PhD
    Chief, Division of Translational Therapeutics
    Department of Medicine and Cancer Center
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Leo E. Otterbein, PhD
    Professor of Surgery
    Harvard Medical School
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD
    Co-Director, Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related TBI Research Center
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Michael McCrea, PhD, ABPP-CN
    Director of Brain Injury Research
    Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Ruben Echemendia, MD
    Clinical Director of the UOC Concussion Care Clinic
    University Orthopedic Center – State College, PA
  • Xiao Zhen Zhou, MD
    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

About Boston Children’s Sports Concussion Clinic

The Sports Concussion Clinic is the leading research-based sports concussion program in the nation. Our physicians treat over 1,000 athletes with concussions every year and are leaders in establishing safe guidelines for returning to play after a concussion. Using the knowledge gained through our extensive experience and research, we have helped set standards in the management of concussion recovery that hospitals around the country have started to implement.