Thirty former National Football League players state they plan to donate their brains to researchers who are studying chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the cause of which has been reportedly linked to repeated head trauma.
“I can’t imagine why anybody that played the game and that cares about the guys and the kids that are starting to play the game now, wouldn’t donate,” says Pro Bowl offensive lineman Randy Cross, who played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1976 to 1988, in a news story by HealthDay, from Medline Plus.
“I would urge everybody that’s ever played the game to do it,” he adds.
Other players who have pledged to donate their brains include three-time Pro Bowl guard Keith Sims and Pro Bowl cornerback Shawn Springs.
“As we start to see the effects of football, we want to learn more,” Springs states in the news story. “Why wouldn’t I give my brain to help with the research so people can become more educated and more aware?”
Former Los Angeles Rams player Mel Farr Jr decided to donate his brain just days after his family disclosed on ESPN that his father, Detroit Lions Pro Bowl running back Mel Farr Sr, had advanced CTE when he died in 2015, according to the Boston-based Concussion Legacy Foundation, in the news story.
The only way to definitively diagnose the degenerative brain condition CTE is via an autopsy performed after the person passes away, the foundation notes.
CTE can affect not only NFL players but also athletes in other sports as well as those in the military, who experience repeated blows to the head.
With that in mind, HealthDay reports that a total of 1,467 former athletes, from all sports backgrounds, as well as military veterans, have pledged to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation over the past 9 years.
These athletes include soccer player Brandi Chastain and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
A CTE brain bank created in 2008 by the foundation, along with Boston University and the US Department of Veterans Affairs has to date received 385 donated brains. Among these, more than 240 have received confirmed diagnoses of CTE.
“Pledging to donate your brain is a fantastic way for current and former athletes to contribute to brain trauma research,” says Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the foundation, in the news story.
“Brain bank research is an essential step in learning to prevent and treat CTE, and [it] has provided insights that have launched multiple studies at the Boston University CTE Center focused on developing diagnostics and therapeutics,” Nowinski adds.
[Source(s): Concussion Legacy Foundation, Medline Plus]