December 20, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2009

Contact: Gina DiGravio, Boston Medical Center, 617-638-8480, gina.digravio@bmc.org  

Statement in Response to AP Story on NFL Support of BU Brain Research

Robert Stern, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology
Co-Director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy
Boston University School of Medicine

(BOSTON) – We are very pleased that the NFL has decided to encourage all current and retired players to participate in our center’s research, including our brain donation program.  This research is key to understanding the true scope of this problem and to developing solutions for active and retired professional players, as well as collegiate and youth athletes.  

To clarify media reports, we first learned of the NFL’s potential financial support for our center from the media this morning. Although we discussed with the NFL how they might facilitate players’ participation in our research into the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma in athletes, we did not request financial support to avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest. Any financial support from the NFL would need to be free of any real or perceived conflict of interest.

We have been in formal discussions with the NFL Players Association in recent weeks about their commitment to encouraging the NFLPA membership to participate in our center’s research and a joint announcement of this collaboration is planned for today.  Through the encouragement of both the NFL and the NFLPA, research into the effects of repetitive concussions and subconcussive brain trauma will now move at a much needed faster pace.