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The Football Players Health Study at Harvard University, Law and Ethics Initiative

Hastings InvestigatorsMichael K. GusmanoKaren J. Maschke, and Sarah McGraw

Principal Investigators, Law and Ethics Initiative: I. Glenn Cohen and Holly Fernandez Lynch, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School

Funder: Contract between the National Football League Players Association and Harvard Medical School, subcontract from Harvard to The Hastings Center

The Football Players Health Study at Harvard University is a research initiative established to improve the health and well-being of professional football players. The project includes three main components: 1) Players Studies focused on the health and well-being of former National Football League players, 2) a Pilot Studies program focused on identifying and supporting innovative, high-return research studies that have a strong likelihood of impacting the health of football players, and 3) a law and ethics component, led by the Petrie-Flom Center.

The law and ethics initiative seeks to promote understanding of the legal and ethical issues that may enhance or impede player health, and to this end, develop appropriate responsive strategies and recommendations. Hastings Center scholars are participating in these key projects of the Law and Ethics Initiative:

  • Sarah McGraw is working with the Petrie-Flom Center to design and conduct a qualitative research study (“listening tour”), which will catalogue the legal and ethical concerns of players and their families related to their health and well-being. The study will also be used to identify new priority projects for the Law and Ethics initiative.
  • Michael Gusmano and Karen Maschke are working with the Petrie-Flom Center on a comparative legal and organizational policy analysis of various professional sports leagues to identify best practices in protecting player health and well-being.

Hastings Center scholars are also helping to develop an ethical framework and accountability structure for various stakeholders.