To address health issues related to head injuries — which may not appear until long after a player has retired — the NFL has teamed with GE to create the Head Health Challenge, a $20-million research initiative. Among the 16 round-one winners is Scott Grafton, Director of the UCSB Brain Imaging Center, Associate Director of the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, and Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at UCSB.
The goal of the Head Health Challenge is to improve the safety of athletes as well as that of members of the military and anyone else who has experienced mild traumatic brain injury. The winners, each of whom will receive a $300,000 award to advance his or her research, were selected from more than 400 entries from 27 countries.
“Our effort is in developing imaging methods that serve as biomarkers for mild brain injury,” said Grafton. “Once you have a biomarker, you have a whole new toolbox for identifying appropriate therapies.”