Jerome Bettis' goal when he was a player was always to help younger players, pass on his knowledge about the game and life in the NFL, both on and off the field.
Now, Bettis is helping that next generation in another manner as he has joined the Board of Directors for the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research.
"I am honored that Jerome Bettis has agreed to join the Chuck Noll Foundation Board, and will be lending his insight and perspective," said Steelers President Art Rooney II, the Chairman of the Foundation's Board. "In 2022, the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research will continue to provide grants to support cutting-edge research that helps to diagnose and treat injuries to the brain. I am pleased that many of the research projects funded by the Noll Foundation have now been validated by the fact that they are attracting research grants and have been published in peer reviewed medical publications."
Bettis' said it's an honor for him to be a part of the board and an opportunity to have an impact on today's players, as well as kids who are playing sports, and even beyond the game of football with head injuries in general.
"That is what you would want the evolution of your life, your career to be," said Bettis. "To have played this game and now to try to help the next generation of players in the game is meaningful. The goal is to try to find different procedures to help players try to get not the bottom of it, but gain more understanding of what people are dealing with regarding these brain injuries. It's about finding out different things such as is it hereditary, what factors are there. Those are the kinds of things as a football player I would have liked to have known. To have the ability to help with the research that is going to provide a lot of answers to questions players might have, that is important.
"And as a dad, my kids are athletic. They want to be involved in different things. They want to do different things. It's my job as a father to keep them safe. These are the kinds of things that help create that understanding, keeping my daughter or son safe. That is what it's all about."
The Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research was founded in 2016, honoring the Steelers late Hall of Fame coach and his passion to not just find better treatment for sports related brain injuries, but to also try to prevent them.
The foundation awards grants to advance research that is related to the diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries, and to date14 early-stage research grants totaling $1.7 million have been awarded, with the grants leveraging an additional $10 million in support. The priorities for funding focus on research that addresses the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of injuries to the brain, with a primary focus on those stemming from sports related injuries.
Among the grants, which average $120,000, are ones that support both basic science and clinical research, have helped identify biomarkers that help with early detection, precision vestibular rehabilitation, brain tsunamis, and support for a brain bank. Those who have been given grants include Allegheny Health Network, Carnegie Mellon University, The University of Pittsburgh, The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and West Virginia University.
About the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research: The Chuck Noll Foundation was established in December 2016 through a seed grant from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Foundation has awarded 14 early-stage research grants totaling $1.7 million, leveraging an additional $10 million in support. Chuck Noll, for whom the Foundation is named, was the beloved head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969-1991, earning four Super Bowl titles during his tenure. His career culminated with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Noll's commitment to the well-being of his players ultimately led the Steelers to initiate the startup of the Foundation in Noll's name. More information on the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research can be found at: www.chucknollfoundation.org.