Health Insider Update


Former NFL Players use Phone App to Track Medical Problems

Former NFL Players use Phone App to Track Medical Problems
April 08
14:03 2016
Will Smith’s latest movie Concussion is no joke. The damage caused by repeated trauma to the head and other parts of the body can cause serious long-term damage, as NFL players now know.

Researchers at Harvard University have developed an app that lets ex-NFL players share medical information with today’s players, allowing them to better understand how their beloved sport affects their brains and bodies.

The app is called TeamStudy. With it, participants spend 20 minutes each week recording mobility, tolerance, and memory. The project is a partnership between Harvard University and the NFL Players Association.

“We want to get as much specific data on how a player’s health may affect their well-being over the course of their lives,” explains Harvard neurology professor Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone.

Pascual-Leone is the project’s lead investigator. He hopes the app’s anonymity will attract individuals who may otherwise be reluctant to share medical information.

TeamStudy debuted in the wake of a massive lawsuit in which more than 5,000 retired NFL players sued the league for hiding health risks linked to head trauma and concussions. The NFL settled for $1 billion.

NFL-Concussion-2008_AP-Mel-Evans-via-CTVThere is a link between CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and football, says NFL health and safety official Jeff Miller. Symptoms of CTE include depression and memory loss.

The New York Times reported earlier this month that NFL concussion research has incorporated flawed data and omitted multiple well-known concussion occurrences. The NFL disputes this story.

TeamStudy became available in the Apple App Store last week and is part of the Football Players Helath Study at Harvard, a project that assesses the health of ex-NFL players. More than 3,000 former pros have signed up for the study.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars player George Wrighster knows he suffered at least three concussions during his career as a tight end. He agrees that convincing players to discuss old injuries is a challenge.

“It may be humbling to say you’re still in pain and not as tough as you used to be,” says the 34-year-old. “Hopefully, this will give them an outlet where they can be open and honest about what they’re going through.” Wrighster now lives with chronic back and neck pain.


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April Kuhlman

April Kuhlman

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