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Soccer Star Brandi Chastain Says She Will Donate Her Brain To Science

Soccer Star Brandi Chastain Says She Will Donate Her Brain To Science

Brandi Chastain, whose penalty kick goal won the 1999 Women's World Cup, will donate her brain to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, a collaborative effort between the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University School of Medicine, upon her death.

CTE is a neurodegenerative disease mostly associated with former National Football League players and soldiers with symptoms similar to dementia.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation was involved in identifying the first case of CTE in a soccer player after examining the brain of Patrick Grange, an aspiring pro known for his headers who died in 2012 at 29. The photo was voted Sports Illustrated's second most iconic cover of all time. It's impossible to overestimate how important that moment was in the progression of women's sports in the Title IX era.

Hoping to broaden the attention and research surrounding concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, particularly with regards to women, former soccer star Brandi Chastain pledged to donate her brain posthumously to researchers studying the impact wrought by repetitive head injuries.

Chastain believes her brain donation also will leave soccer in a better place for future generations.

Some studies have shown that female athletes suffer concussions more frequently than males in comparable sports and take longer to recover. "It's a significant number", she said. "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 cataloguing of damaged brains will continue until then, and although that can help us understand the inherent risks that come from playing any kind of contact sport, it doesn't yet offer much more than that.

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For soccer players, the danger comes when heading the ball. Players likely headed the ball 30 or more times during every practice.

No female athletes have been found to have suffered from CTE, the New York Times reports, though this may be because the sample size is too small. He also said he has been more emotional in recent years and that he has experienced short-term memory loss but isn't sure if that is related to prior brain trauma.

Today, the 47-year-old mother continues to coach soccer at her alma mater, Santa Clara University.

In an interview with USA Today's Christine Brennan, Chastain revealed Thursday she will donate her brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation after death. "But I do recall that I had no qualms about doing it when the ball was in the air". It's more about how fast is an opponent coming, where is your body in space?

"It's not just football that's at stake", Chastain said.

"How do you protect yourself in space so you might not have that headfirst collision?" she added. I explained to him that if there is a way when they dissect my brain that they can say, "Okay, at the age of 9, we see this", maybe they haven't had that information before.


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