What an amazing donation! Soccer star Brandi Chastain has bravely offered to donate her brain after her death to help with concussion and CTE research, a pressing issue in the sports world. Get the details here!
Brandi Chastain may be known for her legacy with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, but she wants to leave behind a legacy with something she is even more passionate about: Concussion and CTE research. CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a degenerative disease that is caused by severe blows to the head, which has become a growing concern amongst athletes. The 47-year-old soccer icon announced on March 3 that she will donate her brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation so it can be studied by the prestigious Boston University CTE program — an amazing and important contribution.
“I’m not going to be needing it at the end of my life, No. 1,” Brandi told USA Today Sports, “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?'”
Although Brandi never saw negative effects from the two concussions she suffered while playing college soccer, she did admit that she would occasionally see stars during games in her 40-year career. But while she was able to shake those moments off, she realizes that not everyone can be so lucky and that concussions are a serious issue. CTE has yet to be diagnosed in a living person, so Brandi is doing everything she can to help make that possible.
Since her last professional game in December 2004, Brandi has become a vocal advocate for the Safer Soccer initiative, an organization that helps to prevent players under 14 years old from heading the ball. She stressed that while she can be remembered for her iconic celebration after her penalty kick won the 1999 Women’s World Cup, it’s her contribution to the improvement of soccer that’s the most important to her.
“Because so many young people are playing soccer, boys and girls alike,” she said, “for me, a great legacy would be that when people think of me and the U.S. women’s national team, I’d hope they would say that she left soccer in a better place than when she started. So this decision would hopefully be at the top of the list, while the penalty kick from ’99 would fall in there somewhere, but not as the most important thing.”
Only seven female brains have been studied by the BU School of Medicine and the Department of Veterans Affairs collaborative brain bank thus far, which makes her donation even more important. Along with Brandi, a teammate from her national team, Cindy Parlow Cone, and Olympic swimming star Jenny Thompson have also offered their brains after they pass.
One of things Brandi would love for her brain to help find out is whether men’s and women’s brains respond differently to concussions. Her donation is exactly what researchers need to figure that out — the director of the BU CTE Program said they’re one step closer to expanding the knowledge about gender differences! No matter what Brandi’s donation does for concussion research, we commend her for her passion and braveness!
What do you think of Brandi’s decision to donate her brain, HollywoodLifers? Do you think concussion research is important? Tell us below!