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Las Vegas Brain Researcher Praises NFL Pledge To Fund Safety Studies

Flickr/University of the Fraser Valley

The NFL recently pledged an additional $100 million to study the effects of head injuries and to seek a safer football helmet.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told an interviewer that the initiative “builds on what we’ve done the last few years. … There are still things for us to do to make our game safer for our players and make it better for our players, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

The league has said that nearly one-third of retired players will develop long-term cognitive problems left by years of hits to the head that often start in youth football.

The commitment to additional research was lauded at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, where brain health studies on former athletes are already under way.

“More funding for research is clearly needed,” said Dr. Charles Bernick, associate medical director for the Ruvo Center. “These industries that involve repetitive head trauma should take some ownership in helping learn about these conditions.”

Bernick is helping administer separate National Institutes of Health research assessing 240 former football players over time through brain imaging and cognitive and physical tests. It is early in the seven-year study, but Bernick said he hopes to develop ways to earlier identify those likely to face brain disorders.

Dr. Charles Bernick, associate medical director for the  Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

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With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.