Canadian ice hockey winger for the Calgary Flames Jonathan Huberdeau has pledged to donate his brain to Project Enlist Canada for research on brain injuries, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Notably, Project Enlist Canada is a program formed by the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada. It majorly focuses on military veterans and helps researchers better understand CTE, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The 29-year-old Huberdeau, who was traded from the Florida Panthers to the Flames in a July blockbuster, is the most prominent current National Hockey League (NHL) player to publicly pledge his brain to concussion research. The Quebec native Huberdeau led the league in assists last season and finished fifth in the MVP voting.
“As an NHL player, I’m very aware of the impact of traumatic brain injuries, concussions and the link to other mental health issues,” Huberdeau said in a statement, as quoted by ESPN.com. “I’m proud to support Canadian military Veterans by pledging to donate my brain to Project Enlist and support research to improve the quality of life of all military personnel who so bravely and courageously served our country.”
“Lot of military veterans are experiencing same things as professional athletes”
Agent Allan Walsh, who works closely with the Concussion Legacy Foundation, said that the 10-year NHL veteran Huberdeau was compelled by the involvement of former astronaut Marc Garneau, who became the first Canadian to travel to outer space in 1984.
“It was discussed as being one of the options that could happen down the road,” Walsh said. “There are a lot of people that are struggling. A lot of military veterans are experiencing the same things as professional athletes. You have all these studies now that show the link between repetitive head impacts and CTE.”