On Thursday, New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy became the very first energetic NHL participant to announce that he is donating his brain to concussion study, earning the announcement with the Concussion Legacy Foundation in an effort and hard work to obtain treatment method for Persistent Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
“If saying this gains consciousness, I am very excited,” Lovejoy instructed ESPN on Thursday. “The reaction has been very beneficial. I failed to think this was going to be a large deal, and I’ve gotten so several congratulatory texts.”
Concussion Legacy Foundation is the outreach arm of the VA-BU-CLF Brain Financial institution, a partnership with Boston University and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and is led by Dr. Ann McKee. More than 460 brains have been donated, resulting in 285 diagnoses of CTE, a degenerative illness connected to head trauma that’s been located posthumously in the brains of numerous athletes.
“We are honored by Ben Lovejoy’s brain pledge,” said Chris Nowinski, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, in a statement. “Brain donation is critical to building techniques to reduce and handle neurologic ailments. Qualified athletes can create superior results for on their own, their teammates, and their children by pledging their brain or raising resources, and we hope Mr. Lovejoy’s pledge encourages other people to be a part of him in support of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.”
Lovejoy has performed 432 games in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks and Devils. He gained the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016. We spoke with Lovejoy about what enthusiastic him to posthumously donate his brain to CTE study the reaction of his family to the choice and the long run of make contact with sports activities in a concussion-informed earth.
ESPN: What enthusiastic you to do this why now?
LOVEJOY: Science. This is my way of offering back to hockey, simply because hockey has been just amazing to me. I have put in 30 of my 33 decades on Earth dwelling and dying hockey. All the things I do in my everyday living has revolved all over hockey and hockey has been so fantastic to me. It is really taken me all over the earth. Gotten me into superior college and faculties, and given me an amazing task for the final 10 and a fifty percent decades.
I think the match has gotten safer and safer, even in individuals 10 and a fifty percent decades. This is my way of offering back and hoping that the medical professionals at BU can sometime review me, and enable cure CTE and make the match safer.
I hope I stay until I am 90 decades aged, and the persons at BU have fixed CTE extensive right before I die and they get my brain. I’ve been instructed, and from the study I’ve carried out, they think there will be a cure. That they think they’ll be in a position to figure out a way.
So this is me, executing my element. I am not a scientist. I haven’t been in a lab considering the fact that school. But these fellas are at the forefront of the study, and this is some thing I’ve been passionate about for a extensive time.
ESPN: How extensive?
LOVEJOY: I instructed my wife three or 4 decades ago that if some thing had been to take place to me, I needed my brain donated to the Brain Financial institution. I considered that was fantastic. I considered that when I was carried out, she could give them a call and donate my brain.
I read through an write-up this past summertime that said that no existing NHL gamers had pledged their brains. It is really some thing I needed to do for a extensive time, and located out how to do it, and this has been prepared for a while.
ESPN: What is the reaction from your family?
LOVEJOY: I instructed my wife, I instructed my moms and dads … I guess I just forgot to inform my tiny brothers I was executing this. And I received a text from both of those of them, inquiring how they can donate their brains. They’ve previously crammed out the on-line paperwork. They are not NHL gamers, but possibly sometime studying their brains will enable, much too.
ESPN: Do you think currently being the very first will stimulate other gamers to do this?
LOVEJOY: I would appreciate if hundreds of persons signed up. That would be excellent for the medical professionals at BU. But I am not right here to inform persons what to do with their bodies. It is really a very personal preference. It is 1 that I made very very easily. I think this is what I can do to enable CTE and enable concussions. I am bringing consciousness, but I am not going out and recruiting.
This is a very personal choice for me — on my driver’s license, I am an organ donor. It just so comes about that I am also a qualified hockey participant, and BU would like my brain.
ESPN: How generally do hockey gamers speak about CTE, and what is the character of these discussions? Is it a verboten subject?
LOVEJOY: It comes up. Not a ton. Concussions are obviously a significant subject of discussion. They arrive up a ton. They are sad to say a element of make contact with sports activities, and fellas have turn out to be very well-informed about them.
ESPN: You described in the Concussion Legacy Foundation launch that you’ve got had ‘very tiny head trauma during my occupation.’ How several concussions have you had in your occupation?
LOVEJOY: Zero. I am fortunate.
ESPN: Wow. You haven’t absent via it, but you described “superior profile teammates” that went via this. You put in several decades in Pittsburgh. How much did Sidney Crosby‘s ordeal with head accidents have an effect on you?
LOVEJOY: I am not cozy talking about that. He is a excellent mate and an amazing hockey participant. That is his tale to inform.
ESPN: Ok, let’s consider the concentration off 1 participant: When you had been earning the choice to donate your brain, how much did viewing what your teammates went via with concussions affect it?
LOVEJOY: Unquestionably. I have viewed plenty of concussions via superior college hockey, school hockey and other sports activities that I grew up taking part in. They are common and they are significant. Seeing what fellas go via, all people is unique. And it certainly performed into my choice system.
ESPN: What do you want to see from the NHL and the NHLPA about CTE and concussions?
LOVEJOY: I think we’re all continuing to find out. Getting smarter, obtaining educated. And that’s what my choice is about. It is really about medicine. It is really about discovering. I think the match carries on to get safer and safer, and my choice is all about that.
ESPN: Ultimately, viewing how hockey and soccer have absent, with the prevalence of concussions, are you fearful about the long run of make contact with sports activities?
LOVEJOY: I am not fearful about hockey. I are unable to communicate to soccer — I hardly ever performed. I grew up taking part in soccer and lacrosse and hockey. Two of the three are make contact with sports activities. I think the match has turned to velocity and ability. It is really not virtually as bodily any more. The match carries on to get safer. As we all turn out to be extra educated, I think hockey will go on to get safer.
Men and women with sports activities or armed service backgrounds of any sort can pledge their brain to study at ConcussionFoundation.org/pledge.