NFL-NIH partnership to end next month with $16 million of research money unspent

By Scooby Axson
July 28, 2017

The National Football League's partnership with the National Institutes of Health is set to end next month with more than half the money set aside for brain research not being spent, reports ESPN.com's Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru.

National Institutes of Health is a medical research agency, headquarted in Bethesda, Maryland.

The NFL granted the NIH $30 million designated for research in 2012, which the NIH said at the time came with no discretion at how the money could be spent.

"The NFL's agreement with [the funding arm of the NIH] ends August 31, 2017, and there are no current research plans for the funds remaining from the original $30 million NFL commitment," the NIH's statement said. "NIH is currently funding concussion research directly.

In December 2015, the NFL backed out of a signed agreement to pay for the study, which instead put the cost on taxpayers.

The NFL reportedly backed out of the study because the NIH would not remove renowned Boston University researcher Robert Stern, who has criticized the league in the past, from the project.

"If [the] NFL wishes to continue to support research at NIH, a simple donation to the NIH Gift Fund to support research on sports medicine would be favorably viewed, as long as the terms provided broad latitude in decisions about specific research programs," NIH said.

The NFL said this week that they were "engaged in constructive discussions" with NIH in regards to spending the remainder of the original $30 million commitment.

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