Football Players Health Study in Motion: The New App

TeamStudy is the first app dedicated to understanding the health and wellness of former professional football players by engaging thousands of former NFL players and the general public alike. Collecting information from large numbers of people on a consistent basis contributes to developing accurate scientific discoveries that address the diverse health needs of former NFL players and others.

In gathering health data from adults of all ages, gender, and cultures, with a specific focus on former NFL players, TeamStudy will provide fundamental new insights into the following areas:

Cognition and cognitive reserve

Cardiac health

Mobility

 

An initiative of the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University, the app utilizes Apple’s ResearchKit framework. TeamStudy is strictly a research app, and data gathered will not be used for any for-profit venture. It is free and secure.

Everyone can join TeamStudy. 

Those who are curious about their own health and concerned about the health and wellness of former NFL players will benefit from downloading this app.

 

button_apple_downloadapp

REQUIREMENTS: You must have
an iPhone to download the app. 

 

Tell a Friend

FAQs

+ What is TeamStudy?

TeamStudy is a research study. The focus of the study is to increase our understanding of the health and wellness of former professional football players. TeamStudy uses surveys, activities, and iPhone sensor data to collect and track measures of health over time. By participating in this study, you will help us learn more about how a professional football career impacts health, wellness, and quality of life. We also hope to learn whether mobile devices can help former players better understand and manage their health. In this unique study, you will be a research partner.

You do not need to be a former professional football player to be in the study; you can join the “control group” to help us understand the differences in the health and well-being between former professional football players and the general population. TeamStudy is for research-use only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

+ Am I eligible to participate?

General public and former NFL players: You must be at least 18 to participate in TeamStudy, live in the US, and be comfortable reading and writing in English to consent for TeamStudy so you can follow the study directions.

If you are a former NFL player who has played in 1960 or since then, and you also meet the criteria above, you are eligible. Former players are required to request a unique ID, and can do so here.

+ What are the activities of TeamStudy?

We will ask you to:

  • Answer surveys about yourself, your health history, and current health and symptoms about once a week.
  • Perform a physical activity every two weeks. These activities are not outside of normal activity for most people.
    For example, you will be asked to complete a short walk.
  • Complete a short written entry about once a week. For example, you might be asked who your favorite football player is and why. We will not be looking at the content of the writing entry, but at your typing speed and accuracy.

You may choose to participate in all or only some parts of the study and can skip any question or activity.

+ Will I be safe performing these activities?

You may want to check with your doctor before taking part in physical activities.

  • Do not interact with TeamStudy while driving or doing any other activities that could result in injury.
  • Be careful when and where you do the activities.
  • It is possible that you could fall, or experience muscle strain or soreness from participating in the physical activities.
  • Stop performing or skip any physical activity that makes you feel unwell or unsafe.

+ What kind of sensor data will you collect?

With your permission, this study will gather sensor data from your health apps on your iPhone. You have the option to contribute activity data collected through sensors on your mobile phone app such as: steps walked, stairs climbed, and relative distance traveled through GPS.

+ You can still participate in the study if you choose not to provide this data.

We will not access your personal contacts, other applications, personal photos, text, or email messages. GPS will only be used for measurement of relative distance traveled, and not for accessing your location.

+ How is my identity protected?

Your study data (e.g. your responses to surveys) will be separated from your personal account information (name, email). A code will be assigned to your data. In this way, your study data is “de-identified.”

+ I’m a former NFL player. How is my identity protected?

We will separate your account information (name, email) from your study data (your responses to surveys and the measurements from the phone itself). Your study data will be connected to the Football Players Health Study ID that you entered at the beginning of TeamStudy. In this way, your data will be “de-identified” (not connected to your personal information). Only team members at the Football Players Health Study will be able to connect your data to your personal information (name, email address) using the Football Players Health Study ID. This information is stored in a separate, secure system at Harvard.

+ I’m a member of the general public. How is my identity protected?

We will separate your account information (name, email) from your study data (your responses to surveys and the measurements from the phone itself). We will use a random code instead of your name on all study data. This code cannot be used to re-identify you. This is how the data is “de-identified” (not connected to your personal information). Information about the code will be stored in a separate, secure system.

+ How is the data stored?

We will electronically process your data. Your data will be stored on a secure butt server in the US under the control of Sage Bionetworks. It will be electronically transferred to servers at Harvard or butt servers controlled by Harvard, also in the US. We will combine your de-identified study data with those of other study participants to be analyzed. During analysis, this combined, de-identified data may cross international borders.

+ I’m a former NFL player; what happens to my data?

Your encrypted, de-identified data will be combined with data from other study participants in the TeamStudy app and analyzed. The Football Players Health Study will receive your de-identified data and your signed consent form. The code that is connected to your data is the Football Players Health Study ID that you were assigned. Members of the Football Players Health Study team will be able to connect your name to your data using the ID. If you have taken part in another study with the Football Players Health Study at Harvard – such as completing a questionnaire – the information that is collected in this study will be combined with that information. It will also be connected to any future information collected as a result of your continued participation in Football Players Health Study projects. Read more about how the Football Players Health Study stores and shares your data.

+ I’m a member of the general public; what happens to my data?

Your encrypted, de-identified data will be combined with data from other participants in the TeamStudy app and analyzed. The Football Players Health Study will receive your encrypted, de-identified data (not connected to your name) and will not have a way to connect it to you. The Football Players Health Study will also receive a copy of your signed consent from, but will not have a way of connecting your name to your study data using your consent. Additionally, you will be able to decide if you would like to share your de-identified data with qualified researchers worldwide through Sage Bionetworks. These researchers use de-identified data to make discoveries that benefit human health.

+ How is TeamStudy different from the Football Players Health Study?

The Football Players Health Study includes several research initiatives and projects, and TeamStudy is one of them.

+ I have not filled out the first questionnaire, can I participate in TeamStudy?

Yes, you can participate. If you are a former player, we encourage you to also fill out a full-length health and wellness questionnaire (which is exclusively for former players), and is helping us gather important information on player health.

+ I’ve already filled out the first questionnaire, can I also participate in TeamStudy?

Yes, we encourage all former players and the general public to participate by downloading this Apple app.

+ Can I download the app if I don’t have an iPhone?

No, at this time the app is only available on the Apple iPhone.

+ Why are you inviting the general public to participate?

By inviting the general public we will be able to establish a ‘control’ group, which will help us better understand the unique conditions and health concerns former players experience, as compared to the general public.

+ How is my privacy protected?

The Football Players Health Study uses appropriate physical, managerial, and technical safeguards that are designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and security of personal data that we collect and maintain against accidental or unlawful loss, theft, and misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration destruction, or any other type of unlawful processing. We cannot, however, fully guarantee the security of personal data or other information transmitted to us through the TeamStudy app.

We take steps to ensure that your personal data is kept in de-identified format by removing personal data that reasonably can be used to identify you directly, such as name or telephone number, from the research study data. However, experts in re-identification may be able to reverse our processes and/or attempt to re-identify you if given sufficient cross-reference information. Total anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

For more information, read TeamStudy’s consent documents for former NFL players and the general public, and the privacy policy.

+ Can I leave TeamStudy at any time?

Yes, you can stop participating at any time after downloading the app.

+ Who is the team working on TeamStudy?

TeamStudy is a part of the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University. The Football Players Health Study includes a number of studies and projects conducted by investigators from Harvard, with input and direction from former NFL players. You can learn more about the Football Players Health Study team here.

Funding for Football Players Health Study comes from the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) and cost-sharing support from multiple Harvard-affiliated institutions. The NFLPA cannot influence the scientific content of this study. Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit biomedical research organization, developed this mobile health app for the Football Players Health Study.

+ I still have questions. Whom should I contact?

If you have any questions, please contact the Football Players Health Study team at (617) 432-5000 or send an email.