Soccer Star Brandi Chastain Will Donate Her Brain to Research

Chastain's brain will go to a BU brain bank that studies CTE.

Brandy Chastain

Photo via AP

Sports bra-baring former soccer star Brandi Chastain has promised her brain to concussion research.

Chastain, 47, will leave her brain to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, a venture run by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Boston University School of Medicine. The center studies post-mortem brains and tissues to better understand the degenerative brain disease CTE, a condition that’s tied to brain injuries sustained in contact sports.

“It is really about: How I can help impact soccer beyond scoring a goal in 1999 in the World Cup final. Can I do something more to leave soccer in a better place than it was when I began this wonderful journey with this game?” Chastain told APadding that she’s not sure if, or how often, she was concussed during her career.

Quite a few former NFL players, including the late Ken Stabler, have donated their brains to the BU brain bank, but Chastain’s announcement is a reminder that male football players are not the only athletes at risk of CTE—players across sports and genders suffer head injuries. Research has even shown that female athletes are more likely to have concussions than men playing the same sport.

“We currently know so little about how gender influences outcome after trauma,” Ann McKee, director of the brain bank program, told AP. “[Chastain’s] pledge marks an important step to expand our knowledge in this critical area.”