NFL Stars Donate Brains to Science

After death, players' brains will be used to help research into concussion injuries
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2009 2:27 AM CDT
NFL players Matt Birk, left, of the Baltimore Ravens, Lofa Tatupu of the Seattle Seahawks, and Sean Morey of the Arizona Cardinals have agreed to donate their brains to science after death.   (AP Photo/File)
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(Newser) – Three NFL players have agreed to donate their brains after they die to help scientists better understand sports brain injuries, HealthDay reports. Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens, Lofa Tatupu of the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals' Sean Morey are the first active NFL players to join the brain donation registry at Boston University School of Medicine. University scientists are studying the link between sports brain injuries and dementia.

Over 150 former athletes, including 40 retired NFL players, have already pledged their brains and spinal cord tissue to the program studying Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. "CTE is the only fully preventable cause of dementia," said a professor of neurosurgery. By studying large numbers of athletes throughout their careers and examining their brains after death, researchers hope to learn more about CTE and devise strategies to prevent it, he said.