Hockey player, JT Brown, commits to concussion research

A former National Hockey League player, JT Brown, pledged his brain for concussion research to the Concussion Legacy foundation In Boston.  Browns NHL career lasted eight seasons with three different teams. He was not the tallest player, only measuring in at five feet and ten inches, but that never held him back on being a physical force on the ice. There has been research on the effects of repeated brain injuries related to sports, and the advancement of study has begun to catch the attention of medical researchers. Many professional athletes who play contact sports have gone through concussion protocols at least once in their career. At the time of pledging his brain for science, he was only the second player in history actively playing hockey to do so.  

A normal brain image comparing to advanced CTE due to repeated head injuries. (Source: Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy)

At the start of the year of 2019, Brown decided to follow into the steps of Ben Lovejoy. He later explained in an interview that he was intrigued and wanted to help to find answers to the long- term effects of repeated head traumas. Brown stated that, “I don’t know what the impact of the fighting has been on my brain. That’s part of the reason I’m doing this.” Organizations in the National Hockey League have recently, in the past year, begun to take more serious actions on concussions. After suffering from two documented concussions throughout Browns professional career, and a total of 26 career hockey fights, the five-foot ten power forward believes his contribution to science can be a stepping stone for the future of head trauma research. Thankfully, due to the progression of science and technology, brain imaging has been able to detect brain injuries and where they have occurred.  

There needs to be more awareness and prevention methods involving head injuries. By not only bringing awareness and education to sports head injuries, but also emphasizing the serious long term impacts of them can only result in positive change for player safety. 

Luka Marinic

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