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New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy pledged to donate his brain to CTE research upon his death, per Chris Ryan of NJ.com, becoming the first NHL player to do so.
“I’m a believer in medicine; I’m a believer in helping the future,” Lovejoy noted. “This summer I read an article about how many NFL players had pledged their brain and there were no current NHL players. I immediately forwarded the article to my agent, who went to [Boston University], and said, ‘Can you look into this and figure out how I can do this?'”
Lovejoy hasn’t dealt with head or concussion issues in his career, but he’s seen his teammates deal with those issues.
“I have had very high-profile, superstar teammates struggle with concussions, and I’ve had minor league role players struggle with concussion,” Lovejoy said. “It’s something that affects everybody in our sport. I look forward to being a part of BU, helping them find a cure, through pledging to donate my brain and raising awareness in our sport.”
Lovejoy pledged his brain to Concussion Legacy Foundation, which has secured 4,600 pledges from athletes and veterans, has received 460 brains and has identified more than 285 cases of CTE.
Athletes ranging from NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to World Cup hero Brandi Chastain—and large numbers of former NFL players—have donated their brains for CTE research.
“If people have questions and want to be involved, I will direct them, but this is a personal choice that I’ve made,” Lovejoy said. “I don’t like to tell people how to handle their bodies. If people are interested, I will absolutely direct them toward Chris. This is a sensitive issue. This is my brain, and I’m choosing to do what I want with it when I’m done.”