About the Head Health Initiative

The Head Health Initiative Overview

GE and the NFL have teamed up to accelerate concussion research, diagnosis and treatment by launching the Head Health Initiative. This five-year collaboration aims to improve the safety of athletes, members of the military and society overall.

The initiative includes two components:

1. Open Innovation Program

Five-year open innovation program to invest up to $20 million in three innovation challenges designed to: 1) better understand and diagnose mild traumatic brain injury; and 2) improve protection from brain injury and 3) advance materials to mitigate impact in sport. In July, GE and the NFL closed Challenge I: Methods for Diagnosis and Prognosis of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries, which could award up to $10 million. The NFL, Under Armour, and GE awarded winners in September 2014 for Challenge II: Innovative Approaches For Preventing And Identifying Brain Injuries. On January 29, 2015, the NFL, Under Armour, GE and NIST launched Challenge III: Advanced Materials for Impact Mitigation.

2. Mapping Brain Imaging Biomarkers

The GE and NFL research program is a four-year $40 million research and development program which will take a whole brain approach to determine the key Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) biomarkers for potential diagnosis, outcome prediction, and therapy management for patients with mild traumatic brain injury. The research study will be guided by an advisory board consisting of a cross-disciplinary team of medical professionals from various institutions. Among those participating are:

  • Dr. Richard Ellenbogen is the Theodore S. Roberts Endowed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at The University of Washington. He is Co-Director of the Seattle Concussion Program and the co-chair of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee.
  • Dr. Gary Glover is a Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine in the Department of Radiology and the Director of the Radiological Sciences Laboratory, where he focuses on functional MRI and MRI methods for quantitative blood flow imaging, spectroscopic imaging methods for metabolite quantitation.
  • Dr. Brian Hainline is the Chief Medical Officer at the NCAA. He is a leading sports medicine advocate with more than two decades' experience most recently as the chief medical officer of the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
  • Col. Sidney Hinds, MD is the national director of the Defense Veterans’ Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), a Department of Defense-funded collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Dr. Larry Leverenz is the Clinical Professor in the Department of Health and Kinesiology and Director of Athletic Training Education at Purdue University. He is currently the President of the World Federation of Athletic Training/Therapy.
  • Dr. Russell Lonser is the Chair of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Department of Neurological Surgery. He is the head of the Subcommittee on Brain and Spine Injury Research on the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee.
  • Dr. Geoffrey Manley is the Chief of Neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).
  • Dr. Joseph Masdeu is a physician scientist who holds the Graham Family Distinguished Endowed Chair in Neurological Science and directs the Nantz National Alzheimer Center and Neuroimaging at the Houston Methodist Neurological Research Institute. He is also chairman of the Neuroimaging Research Group of the World Federation of Neurology.
  • Dr. Thomas McAllister is chair of the Department of Psychiatry and the Albert Eugene Sterne Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine.
  • Dr. Pratik Mukherjee is a Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He is an attending neuroradiologist at UCSF, with a focus on clinical applications of advanced neuroimaging methods such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), functional MRI (fMRI) and magneto-encephalography (MEG).
  • Dr. Alexander Norbash is an interventional neuroradiologist and Chairman and Professor of Radiology at the Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Norbash is also the founding Chair of the American College of Radiology Head Injury Institute.
  • Dr. Teena Shetty is a Neurologist at Hospital for Special Surgery and is triple board-certified in neurology, neuromuscular medicine, and electrodiagnostic medicine. She specializes in sports neurology and concussions and is the neurologist for the New York Mets and an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant for the New York Giants.