Although no cases of C.T.E. have been found in female soccer player, Chastain has still decided to donate her brain.
Soccer player Brandi Chastain, who made the winning goal in the 1999 World Cup, will continue contributing to the culture of soccer and other contact sports, long after her death.
According to the New York Times, the 47-year-old is planning to donate her brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, as well as researchers at Boston University, to conduct studies on concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy – or C.T.E. – which is a degenerative brain disease.
Although no female soccer players have been diagnosed with C.T.E, it has reportedly been found in male soccer players and is believed to be caused my taking blows to the head, a situation common in soccer with numerous players heading the ball.
“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,” Chastain told the newspaper about why she’s decided to give her brain to science. “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.”
Adding that her decision could “save some kids,” while also enhancing the sport, the athlete admits that during her own career she’s ignored the symptoms of “probably a half-dozen” concussions and she still sees some of the repercussions today.
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Chastain told the Times that situations like walking into a room without remembering why, constantly prompts Chastain to ask herself if those incidents have something to with her decades-long soccer career.
“It’s crossed my mind,” she continued. “I do wonder about ramifications over the next 20 years when I should be fully functioning and still doing things I like or want to do. I try not to get hung up on those things, because it doesn’t really matter at this point. You just don’t know.”
In another attempt to contribute to the sport, Chastain told the publication that she has talked to a handful of other players, none of whom currently playing, about her choice to donate her brain.
“Abby Wambach – I’m trying to get her to come onboard because I think she will be an interesting study, decades from now, as the player who scored 75 goals with her head,” she said. “How many times did she hit her head on the ground after being run over by somebody.”