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archie-eli-peyton-manning-autographed-nfl-logo-mini-helmet-3369711With the NFL regular-season opening tomorrow the league finds its brand under fire at many levels for issues surrounding head injury. Last week it agreed to a $765 million settlement deal with thousands of former players who sued the league, accusing it of hiding the dangers of brain injury. Today, the league announced a more positive agreement with two other brands who have a stake in the game: Under Armour and GE.

The two companies are working with the league to accelerate concussion research. The new effort has a hefty dollar amount attached and huge stakes for the game of football. Called “Head Health Challenge II” it is an open innovation challenge to award up to $10 million for “new innovations and materials that can protect the brain from traumatic injury and for new tools for tracking head impacts in real time.” It is the second phase of a community-based research effort to help speed diagnosis and improve treatment for mild traumatic brain injury. The first challenge launched in March and closed in July with more than 400 submissions from more than 25 countries and will invest up to $10 million in technologies and imaging biomarkers that address identification and management of subclinical and mild traumatic brain injury. Winners of the first challenge will be announced later this year.

Entries are being immediately accepted at www.headhealthchallenge.com. The deadline to submit entries is January 30, 2014. In September 2014 up to 10 winners will be selected for the chance to receive as much as $500,000 each. Up to five of the potential 10 finalists will be eligible to receive as much as $1,000,000 after the second phase of judging concludes.

Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Business Innovations, said, “GE is investing to speed up the study of head health. Through this challenge, we hope to stimulate the broader ecosystem of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide to bring their talents to this effort and accelerate the current understanding of brain trauma.”

The winners of the challenges will be selected by a panel of external judges that include leading experts in brain research and engineering solutions for training and protocols.

The Head Health Initiative is a four-year, $60 million collaboration to speed diagnosis and improve treatment for mild traumatic brain injury. The center of it is the NFL but it also includes members of the military and society overall. The initiative includes a four-year, $40 million research and development program from the NFL and GE to evaluate and develop next generation imaging technologies to improve diagnosis that would allow for targeting treatment therapy for patients with mild traumatic brain injury. In addition the NFL, Under Armour and GE launched two open innovation challenges to invest up to $20 million in research and technology development to better understand, diagnose and protect against brain injury.


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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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