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Former women's hockey star Wickenheiser to donate brain to concussion research

BOSTON — Retired Canadian women's hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser will donate her brain to concussion research after her death.
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BOSTON — Retired Canadian women's hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser will donate her brain to concussion research after her death.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation says the four-time Olympic gold medallist and seven-time world champion is one of three female Olympians to commit her brain to the Boston-based organization. 

American bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor and Hockey Hall of Famer Angela Ruggiero of the U.S., were also listed in Tuesday's announcement.

Wickenheiser has been involved with concussion-related causes in the past, including helping develop video game technology to treat concussions last summer.

She co-chairs the advisory board of Highmark Interactive, a Toronto digital therapeutics company developing video games to diagnose and treat concussion and brain injuries.

Wickenheiser, 39, said she suffered dizziness and nausea after taking a hit in a Swedish men's pro league in 2008 and witnessed the deterioration of friend and former NHL player Steve Montador, who was diagnosed after his death in 2015 with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

"As I transition to being an ambassador for hockey in my retirement, I am determined to leave hockey better and safer," Wickenheiser said in a release. "Steve Montador was a friend, and when he was diagnosed with CTE after his death in 2015, I became inspired to do my part to fight this disease."

CTE is a degenerative brain condition that doctors believe is caused by concussions.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation, which supports CTE and concussion research, says more than 2,800 former athletes and military veterans have promised to donate their brains to their organization since 2008. More than 560 of those pledges are from women.

"By pledging my brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation and the researchers at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, I hope to support the best science and accelerate the development of ways to prevent and treat CTE," said Wickenheiser.

The Canadian Press




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