General Electric (GE) announced a new $60 million research and innovation partnership with the National Football League on Monday.
This partnership – the NFL’s biggest private industry partnership to date – aims to develop and improve concussion-detecting imaging technology.
Some of the research and development in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) will be done at GE Healthcare facilities in Waukesha.
The research will take a whole brain approach to determine the key MRI biomarkers to improve diagnosis and target treatment therapy for patients with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The long-term effects of brain injuries have garnered increased attention in the NFL in recent years, and with this partnership, GE and the NFL will jointly invest up to $40 million for research over a four-year period.
The remaining $20 million will be put toward a program called the Head Health Challenge, a two-part, open-entry challenge aimed at generating ideas for new and improved safety equipment, the first of which is open immediately for entries at www.NFLGEBrainChallenge.com. Under Armour is also a partner on the challenge.
In a press release, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “Our collaboration with GE and Under Armour and the launch of the innovation challenges puts us on an accelerated path to progress with experienced scientists, academics and entrepreneurs dedicated to developing game-changing technologies that will benefit athletes, the military and all members of society.”
While the focus of the partnership with the NFL is to improve player safety, many others are affected by TBI, including members of the military, individuals involved in traffic accidents and those in sports where brain injuries and head traumas have become commonplace, such as hockey, lacrosse, cycling and snowboarding.
GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said, “With this initiative, we will advance our research and apply our learning to sports-related concussions, brain injuries suffered by members of the military and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Advancing brain science will help families everywhere.”
GE Healthcare’s U.S. Headquarters and several other GE Healthcare facilities are located in Waukesha.