by Musa Tahir
Brandi Chastain, a retired professional soccer player best known for clinching the 1999 Women’s World Cup for the United States with a shootout goal, has decided to donate her brain to Boston University researchers who extensively study concussions and brain diseases.
According to the New York Times, Chastain replied upon being asked the question on why she would donate her brain “ 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.” She stated later, “There are definitely days when I turn a corner and I’m like, “Why did I come into this room?” I have definitely, from time to time, thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if this is connected to the past 40 years of playing sports.”
Thanks to science, over the past few years, effects of various sports, most notably football, on brain trauma has been growing exponentially. According to sports illustrated, “ 87 of 91 deceased former NFL players have tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).”
In 2015, a movie to raise awareness about football concussions and the brain diseases associated with it entitled, “Concussion” was released. Peter Bradshaw commented on the movie that is was, “Based on a true story, this drama about the doctor who challenged the NFL with evidence that the game is giving its players brain damage is shallow and unsatisfying.”
This movement of raising awareness for concussions in sports is immensely beneficial to all the players, and not just at a professional level. Mother Jones Media writes, “Between 2005 and 2014, another 92 high school football players died indirectly from the sport.”
Repeated head trauma in multiple sports is an important issue that has been overlooked for many years, as seen in the concussion movie, and athletes like Brandi donating their brains for research is a tremendous contribution to the prevention of more deaths/brain diseases inflicted upon players.