Scientists believe that more concussions, or even less severe blow to the head, can cause chronic traumatic brain disease (CTE), a degenerative brain condition, according to the Heritage Foundation Concussion.
Many NFL players have been diagnosed with CTE after they died. Doing an autopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose the condition, the Boston-based foundation explained in a newsletter.
Last month, a $1 billion dispute resolution for former NFL players was backed by the US Supreme Court despite legal challenges from some retired players.
The ruling means that bonuses can start for old players who develop permanent brain problems due to head injuries suffered while in the tournament. Three times the Pro Bowl defends Keith Sims and the Pro Bowl back Shawn Springs also pledges their brains to the same end.
Sims is an offensive lineman in the NFL for 11 years with Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. Springs is a 13-year NFL comeback with Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and New England Patriots.
Mel Farr Jr. is also one of the former NFL players who pledged to donate their brains to study head injuries. Farr played a season for the Los Angeles Rams. His decision was made just days after his family revealed about ESPN that his father, the Detroit Lions Pro Bowl running back to Mel Farr Sr, had advanced CTE when he died in 2015, the foundation said.
CTE affects more than footballers. A total of 1,467 former athletes, from all athletic backgrounds, and military veterans have pledged to donate their brains to the platform for the past nine years. Great football Brandi Chastain and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. have also made this commitment.
In 2008, the foundation established a brain bank in cooperation with Boston University and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Currently, the world’s largest CTE brain bank focuses specifically on concussions, ALS and other conditions related to brain injury. To date, 385 brains have been collected, of which more than 240 have been confirmed to have had CTE.
Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the foundation said: “Your commitment to donating your brain is a great way for current and former athletes to contribute to brain injury research”.