Brandi Chastain, best known for making the winning goal at the 1999 Women's World Cup, said Thursday that she will donate her brain for research on soccer-related CTE, a form of neurodegeneration,
Chastain, 47, said she will give permission for the Boston University CTE program to study her brain after the donation to the Concussion Legacy Foundation when she dies, reported USA Today
While football and NFL players have received the bulk of the recent headlines for their connection to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, soccer has become an increasing focus with players repeatedly using their heads to strike a fast-moving ball and on-field head-to-head collisions, said New York
"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," Chastain said in a Concussion Legacy Foundation website statement
. "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."
Doctors found signs of CTE in the brain of Brazilian soccer star Bellini, who died in 2014, and New Mexico soccer player Patrick Grange, who died in 2012, noted New York magazine. Former soccer players tried to get the sports' governing body, FIFA, to address the issues in 2014 with a lawsuit.
"If there's any information to be gleaned off the study of someone like myself, who has played soccer for 40 years, it feels like my responsibility — but not in a burdensome way," Chastain told the New York Times.
"People talk about what the '99 group did for women's soccer. They say, 'Oh, you left a legacy for the next generation.' This would be a more substantial legacy — something that could protect and save some kids, and to enhance and lift up soccer in a way that it hasn't before."
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