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When the National Football League announced a $30 million donation to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to fund research on concussion and brain trauma, the league called the grant an “unrestricted gift.”

But it turns out there were strings attached.

Before spending the money, the foundation must reach “mutual agreement” with the NIH and its donors — including the NFL — on the “research concepts” that will be addressed, as well as on “timeline, budget, and specific milestones to accomplish the research,” according to a signed agreementobtained by STAT.

The agreement also commits the foundation to set up a “stakeholder board” to let the NFL and other donors talk with the NIH’s scientific leadership to “express viewpoints, address challenges, share expertise, and develop common perspectives on issues relating” to the research.

Image: Cedward Brice CC BY-2.0

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