Back in 2012, the NFL made a heavily publicized $30 million commitment to the National Institute of Health to fund concussion research, which the league wanted the public to see as a commitment it was taking head safety in football seriously.
But as ESPN’S Outside the Lines reported this week, that partnership is set to expire next month even though the NFL — which is projected to reach $14 billion in revenue this year — failed to give the NIH $16 million of the promised funds. In other words, the league fulfilled less than half of its obligations to the NIH.
“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 said in a statement.
The relationship between the NFL and the NIH has been a contentious one from the start. In 2015, Outside the Lines reported that even though the gift had reportedly been unrestricted, the NFL restricted the NIH from using $16 million of its $30 million grant to fund a Boston University study on the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive brain disease thought to be caused by repeated subconcussive hits to the head.