NFLPA announces investment into Dementia research

In what could ultimately prove to be a major breakthrough around the football world, the National Football League Players’ Association announced that it has invested into a Dementia research project.

“The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is investing in the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), a venture capital fund based in London and Boston and managed by SV Health. The DDF is focused on discovering and developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, in particular those that are associated with dementia,” the union announced Thursday, via its official website.

While the NFL itself continues to lag behind on the important topic of brain-related trauma, the union appears to be taking it upon itself to help fund research in a field that’s become increasingly important in recent years.

The DDF is a London-based venture capital fund that solely focuses on developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. Earlier in the week, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates pledged $100 million to help in these efforts.

The DDF is focused on brain diseases particularly associated with Dementia, such as Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Studies have in the past shown that former football players are more at risk of suffering from Dementia, which itself is closely correlated with CTE.

It was just on Wednesday that the scientific field was actually able to diagnose CTE in a living patient. In the past, confirmation of the ailment could only come postmortem. This is yet another major breakthrough in the scientific community and it could have wide-ranging ramifications moving forward.

“This union has been vigilant about its commitment to the long-term health, safety and well-being of our players,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said. “For the same reason that we instituted rule changes, concussion protocols and pay for post-career neurological benefits, our capital investment in this fund complements our current investment initiatives with the Harvard Football Players Health Study.”

Someone has to go to bat for former NFL players who are currently suffering through the signs of CTE. Dr. Bennet Omalu started this when he introduced the world to the affliction years back. It now looks like the study of these afflictions are becoming mainstream in nature.

If these players do indeed have a friend in the NFLPA (as well as Mr. Gates), it could help further research of Chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other brain-related trauma caused by football, including Dementia.