News

Treating Inflammatory Arthritis with Hydrogel

June 4, 2018

A better delivery system brings anti-inflammatory therapies to critical sites.

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Research Huddle Podcast: The Brain Health Study

April 30, 2018

The purpose of the Brain Health Study is to gain a better understanding of brain health in former professional football players. Through a series of online assessments that evaluate memory, attention, personality and temperament, this study collects data on individuals’ ability to think and process information. This Research Huddle podcast episode features a conversation between Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, director of targeted research studies for the Football Players Health Study, Laura Germine, PhD, who adapted her…

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New Article Examines the Possibility of Applying Workplace Safety Rules to the NFL

April 17, 2018

Could occupational health and safety laws be applied to better protect NFL players? A new analysis, published on April 17 in the Arizona Law Review, explores this very possibility. The article, written by the Law and Ethics Initiative of the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University, examines whether the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should take an active role in improving health and safety in the NFL workplace. The article concludes that…

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Meet the Doc – Ross Zafonte, DO

March 2, 2018

Dr. Ross Zafonte is a senior vice president of medical affairs at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. He is a member of the leadership team of the Football Players Health Study, and leads a new area called medical navigation. How did you get involved with the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University? RZ: I got involved with the Study from the very…

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Moving forward: Minimally-Invasive ACL Repair

March 2, 2018

ACL tears are a serious, often career-ending injury for football players. These tears and other knee injuries are very common, and the recovery process is difficult and slow. Martha Murray, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School, has been working for several years on a new technique for ACL repair that will hopefully reduce the impact to sports performance and lower the risk of developing arthritis in the knee.…

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Building a Better Knee Brace for NFL Players

March 2, 2018

Joint pain and arthritis are the top two health complaints among former NFL players. ACL tears, which can cause joint pain and arthritis, also pose a threat to players’ livelihood: in 36 percent of cases they are a career-ending injury. Because knee injuries are of high concern to players, knee braces are a common part of a football player’s gear on the field. However, these braces are usually made of hard, rigid materials. They can be…

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Advancing Research on Potential Treatment for TBI

March 2, 2018

Football players are at high risk of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) on the field of play and practice since frequent head impacts are an unavoidable part of the game. Currently, researchers are still learning about the long-term impact of these injuries on players, and a long-term treatment has not yet been fully developed. Over the last three years, the Football Players Health Study has been studying this very important area. Our researchers Drs. Xiao Zhen…

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Preliminary Results Infographic: Exercise and Weight Gain

March 2, 2018

So far, over 3,700 former NFL players have taken our first health and wellness questionnaire. These infographics provide a snapshot of the information shared by respondents about early data on exercise and weight gain.   Download a PDF of this infographic. Have questions?  Contact us: 617.432.500  or players@footballplayershealth.harvard.edu

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In-Person Assessments: Visits to Boston Hospitals for Testing, Scans, and Other Evaluations

March 2, 2018

After months of planning, the In-Person Assessment Study was officially launched in November 2017. This study is designed to bring former professional football players to the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to participate in a wide range of tests, scans, and evaluations. These assessments will provide our researchers a “whole body” understanding of health, wellness, and conditions. When the full study launches later this year, a group of players will take part in the most…

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Epidemiology: Study of Patterns within a Population

March 2, 2018

The Football Players Health Study’s epidemiological efforts (study of patterns within the former player population) focus on growing a robust research base (cohort) of former NFL players. Undertaking these efforts always requires significant time, but it is important for us to capture these results from as many former players as possible.  Currently, we are continuing to invite former players to participate in our first questionnaire, and at the same time, our focus has shifted to…

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Targeted Studies: Prevention, Diagnostics, and Interventions Developed by Researchers, and Innovative Approaches to Testing Players Remotely

March 2, 2018

The Football Players Health Study has made significant progress in advancing its active Targeted Studies, as well as launching new efforts which focus on prevention, diagnostics, and interventions developed by researchers at Harvard University, along with collaborators at other institutions. The Study has also moved forward on developing innovative approaches to testing players remotely. Targeted Studies refers to research projects that address specific questions of relevance that can be translated into solutions to promote improved…

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Preliminary Results Infographic: Positions, Conditions, and Quality of Life

March 2, 2018

So far, over 3,700 former NFL players have taken our first health and wellness questionnaire. These infographics provide a snapshot of the information shared by respondents about early data on positions, conditions, and quality of life.   Download a PDF of this infographic. Have questions?  Contact us: 617.432.500  or players@footballplayershealth.harvard.edu

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More Preliminary Results from the First Health Questionnaire

July 20, 2017

This first health and wellness questionnaire explores health conditions of former NFL players. So far, over 3,500 former NFL players have taken this questionnaire, helping to shape and direct the future of our Study. This infographic is a snapshot of the results thus far.     Download a PDF of this infographic. Have questions?  Contact us: 617.432.500  or players@footballplayershealth.harvard.edu

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Preliminary Results from the First Health Questionnaire

June 21, 2017

So far, over 3,500 former NFL players have taken our first health and wellness questionnaire, helping to shape and direct the future of our Study. This infographic is a snapshot of the results thus far.   Download a PDF of this infographic. Have questions?  Contact us: 617.432.500  or players@footballplayershealth.harvard.edu

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Harvard Report Compares NFL’s Health Policies and Practices to Those of Other Professional Sports Leagues

May 15, 2017

While the NFL’s player health policies and practices are robust in some areas, there are opportunities for improvement in others, according to the findings of a newly released report by researchers at The Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School. The report, published today, is the first comprehensive comparative analysis of health policies and practices across professional sports leagues. The research is part of the ongoing Football Players Health Study at Harvard University. The analysis compares…

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Researchers at the University of Houston Law Center and Harvard Law School Address Legal Issues in Evaluating NFL Player Health and Performance

January 24, 2017

The University of Pennsylvania Law Review today published an article by researchers at the University of Houston Law Center and Harvard Law School analyzing the legality of various health and performance evaluations used by NFL clubs. These include the familiar—such as athletic drills—and those that are more advanced, such as genetic testing and wearable technologies that monitor a player’s speed, strength, sleep, heart rate, body temperature and other biometrics. The article is authored by Jessica…

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Innovation Challenge – Chronic Pain

December 19, 2016

Research Questions for Treating Chronic Pain Deadline January 18, 2017 What’s your big idea? The Football Players Health Study at Harvard University has launched an innovation challenge to solicit innovative and important scientific research questions that will significantly advance our knowledge of chronic pain and how to treat it. The challenge is open to all members of the public, including researchers from all fields, athletes, and anyone else interested in this topic. You do not…

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Recommendations to Improve NFL Player Health

November 17, 2016

Recommendations to Improve NFL Player Health: New Harvard report addresses legal and ethical factors affecting players’ health At a glance: First-of-a-kind analysis examines structural factors in player health. Report makes key recommendations toward improving players’ health beyond clinical interventions. November 17, 2016 – The Football Players Health Study at Harvard University today released a set of legal and ethical recommendations to address a series of structural factors that affect NFL player health. The Football Players Health…

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Innovation Challenge – Sleep Apnea

August 22, 2016

Solutions for Sleep Apnea: Deadline September 21, 2016 What’s your big idea? The Football Players Health Study at Harvard University has launched an innovation challenge to solicit ideas and solutions for treating sleep apnea. The challenge is open to all members of the public, including researchers both in sleep medicine, and outside of this field, athletes, and anyone else interested in this topic. You do not need to be affiliated with Harvard to apply. You’ll…

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Job Posting: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

May 3, 2016

We have an opening for a highly motivated post-doctoral research fellow (PhD, MD or MD/PhD) who will help to further study design, write IRB protocols, and conduct data analysis under the guidance and direction of our lead investigators. Additional responsibilities include coordinating with the IRB, presenting work at local and national meetings, and writing scientific manuscripts.  The position will be co-mentored by Drs. Alvaro Pascual-Leone and William Meehan. This is a one-year position with the…

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Bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair (BEAR) Technique

March 23, 2016

Exciting news regarding Martha Murray’s Bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair (BEAR) technique which is currently in phase 1 of a clinical trial: All 10 experimental patients are progressing with new tissue growth, which is the goal of this non-invasive technique. Watch the video below from Boston Children’s Hospital highlighting a patient’s successful recovery three months after surgery, and read more about the patient’s experience.

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Harvard Launches ResearchKit App to Support Football Player Health

March 17, 2016

  TeamStudy, an app that is part of the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University, uses ResearchKit to help former NFL players and the public better understand brain function, heart health, pain and mobility. The Football Players Health Study at Harvard University—a series of studies that examine the health and well-being of former football players and aims to develop more effective diagnostic and therapeutic interventions—today launched TeamStudy, an iPhone research app built using ResearchKit, the open source software framework designed by Apple.  Former NFL…

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Our Gratitude to Willie Richardson: 1939-2016

February 10, 2016

As the news broke that our trusted friend and player advisor Willie Richardson passed away on February 8, our team remembered his legacy as a legendary wide receiver who played for Jackson State, then went on to the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins. Most recently, Richardson hosted an hour-long weekly radio show on ESPN The Zone 105.9. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. Read the full obituary. More coverage. 2012 article on…

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A Visit with Former Players: Pre-Super Bowl 50 Trip

February 8, 2016

Lydia Bergen, director of operations for the Football Players Health Study (left), Alix Nozzolillo, associate director of player relations (right), with Nolan Harrison and Dat Nguyen, player advisors for the Study, at Super Bowl 50. To help spread the word on our Study, the Football Players Health Study team makes an annual trip before the Super Bowl begins to connect with players as they attend events at Radio Row, NFL Legends Lounge, and The Trust…

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Talks@12: Tackling Football Injuries

February 1, 2016

  Lee Nadler, MD, principal investigator of the Football Players Health Study; Rodney Peete, player advisor, Holly Robinson Peete, family advisor; Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, co-director; Ross Zafonte, DO, co-director   On February 1, a packed auditorium and over 44,000 live stream viewers tuned into hear our associate directors Ross Zafonte and Alvaro Pascual-Leone present ‘Tackling Football Injuries’ as part of Harvard Medical School’s Talks@12 series. The hour-long talk addressed both the urgent need for…

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Harvard Chan: This week in Health

January 23, 2016

Bill Meehan, MD, an associate director of the Study, was a guest speaker on the podcast Harvard Chan: This Week in Health on January 22 to discuss the urgent need for research on the conditions football player former players face. He noted that our Study is unique because it addresses the whole player, while incorporating ongoing feedback from this community on what concerns them — and their families — most. “We thought that the potential effects…

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Milestone: Over 2,570 Former Players Participate in our Study

October 26, 2015

We’ve made history with a new milestone! Over 2570 former players have participated in our first questionnaire, making us the largest study of living former football players ever. Thanks to all of you for your support and input; we’re working on reaching thousands more, and with your help, we’ll continue to move forward with this critical research.

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