MAR 10, 2016 04:49 AM PST

Soccer Star Will Donate Brain To Concussion Research

World Cup soccer star Brandi Chastain is probably best known for whipping off her shirt in celebration of the US Women’s win in 1999, but soon another move she’s made will be taking the spotlight. On March 3, 2016 Chastain announced that she would be donating her brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation at the CTE Center at Boston University.
Brandi Chastain will donate her brain to research

 In an interview with USA TODAY Sports, she said, “I’m not going to be needing it at the end of my life, No. 1, and hopefully, what can be learned is, can doctors and scientists and neuroscientists look at the brain of someone like me, who has been playing soccer a majority of my life, and really dissect the brain and say, ‘Here’s where we see it beginning?’ Could we then use that information to help say that before the age of 14, it’s not a good idea to head the ball? I never had an official diagnosis of a concussion in my career but as you grow older, you sometimes say, gosh, am I losing my memory or did I used to forget when I went into a room what I went in there for? Could this be the start of something?”
 
Chastain’s donation highlights a gap in concussion research. While the brain bank at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is managed by the Boston University School of Medicine, has over 300 brains, only 7 of them are from women and of those, none have been found to have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Conversely, of the brains studied there that are from men who played football, 96% percent have been diagnosed with CTE. Football legends like Frank Gifford and Ken Stabler have made headlines after passing away when their brains were examined and found to have the neurodegenerative disease, but the same is not true for women’s sports.
 
Ann McKee, director of BU’s CTE Center told the Washington Post, "We currently know so little about how gender influences outcome after trauma. Her pledge marks an important step to expand our knowledge in this critical area.” 
 
In a feature for the Concussion Legacy Foundation, Chastain explained her reasoning for donating her brain, “With more information, the greater public can make better choices. I won’t be witness to the results when I donate my brain, and I hope that day is a long way from today, but I’m hoping that my donation helps change things for the positive. I hope my experience in soccer and what I am able to give back helps put soccer in a better place than it was when I started. Having played soccer since I was little, I can’t even attempt a guess at how many times I’ve headed the ball. It’s a significant number. It’s scary to think about all the heading and potential concussions that were never diagnosed in my life, but it’s better to know.”

The donation is not the first time Chastain has been involved with the safety of her sport. She has been heavily involved in the Safer Soccer campaign, coining the hashtag #NoHeaderNoBrainer on social media in an effort to raise awareness about athletes younger than 14 heading the ball. Check out the video below to hear more about Chastain’s donation and what she hopes to achieve by making it.
 
 
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
SEP 16, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 16, 2019
Magic mushrooms as medicine? Denver decriminalizes psychedelic mushrooms
Voters in Denver narrowly approved a ballott to decriminalize yet another recreational drug: psilocybin mushrooms, commonly referred to as magic or psyched...
SEP 16, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
SEP 16, 2019
E-cigarettes can Damage Neural Stem Cells
Some stem cells are with us throughout life. They help replenish cells that we need, but they are also very sensitive to stresses like toxins....
SEP 16, 2019
Drug Discovery
SEP 16, 2019
Can Ecstasy Treat PTSD and Depression?
Ecstasy, also known as MDMA or “molly”, is a well-known substance known to induce feelings of euphoria and bliss, followed by a notorious, depr...
SEP 16, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 16, 2019
25 Interesting Facts About The Brain
The human brain is the most complex and least-understood part of the our body. With 86 billion brain cells and as many as 10,000 specific types of neurons, it can send and receive an enormous...
SEP 16, 2019
Drug Discovery
SEP 16, 2019
Can FDA Approved Ketamine Drug Spravato Really Treat Depression?
President Trump is allegedly in support of a new drug to combat depression. He even urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase it and “get ...
SEP 16, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 16, 2019
Mutant sheep bred to help scientists understand rare child brain disease
Scientists at Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute have created a flock of sheep that carry the gene for a heritable brain disorder in humans call...
Loading Comments...