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Harvard is using ResearchKit to examine long-term damage to NFL players

The university is taking advantage of Apple's iPhone (and the ResearchKit platform) in order to study the lasting impact of injuries sustained by NFL players
Connected Fitness
March 28, 2016

Here's another high profile use of Apple's iOS and ResearchKit: Harvard University medical researchers are, according to a recent report, using the platform to investigate the impact NFL injuries have on professional players.



TeamStudy TeamStudy

Harvard's iPhone application is being used by ex-players from the NFL to check on a number of different areas of physical and mental health. It's called TeamStudy, according to a recent CNET article, and it requires users to spend around 20 minutes each week “recording their pain tolerance, mobility, and memory.” Harvard has put the application in the hands of ex-NFL players, but medical researchers from the university are also asking the general public to log on, too, in order to compare results from athletes and non-athletes.

You can download the application now by clicking this link: it's free, and optimized for the iPhone.

Concerning the research, Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, TeamStudy's lead investigator, told CNET:

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.

- Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone

Of course, the anonymity of TeamStudy allows ex-players to participate in the research without revealing their identify, or publicly disclosing their participation. At the minute, the NFL is facing a lot of action from ex-players claiming that playing professional football has left them with lasting health issues; the League also recently agreed to a $1 billion settlement concerning the alleged hiding of “health risks linked to concussions and head trauma.”

So far, more than 3,000 ex-players are part of Harvard's TeamStudy; it's being funded by the NFL Players Association, which is the official union for players.

Indeed, TeamStudy uses Apple's ResearchKit in order to allow players to submit results directly to the research team at Harvard using an iPhone handset. This month, Apple unveiled a new healthcare-related platform: CareKit is designed to allow patients to take a more active role in their care, the company explained.