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Cassie Campbell-Pascall to donate brain to concussion research

Women’s hockey pioneer Fran Rider also to donate her brain

IIHF World Women's Championships Preliminaries Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Today, two-time Olympic gold medalist Cassie Campbell-Pascall and president of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association Fran Rider announced they will donate their brains for concussion research in women at the Canadian Concussion Centre (CCC).

The CCC has examined 44 brains of professional athletes, but, all were male, according to their press release.

“Research is showing that concussions affect women differently than they do men, and our ability to analyse the changes that can occur in women’s brains as a result of concussions will help us better understand and treat these injuries,” said Dr. Charles Tator, director of the CCC.

Campbell-Pascall is excited by her pledge.

“I wanted to be part of such a great group of women to donate my brain to the Canadian Concussion Centre to help with concussion research down the road,” says Cassie Campbell-Pascall, the only Canadian captain, male or female, to lead a hockey team to two Olympic gold medals. “I loved playing sports and have no regrets, but having had some concussions I would like to make sure that future generations are protected as much as possible while still being able to play sports at all levels. I am also glad to be amongst this group, as we are the first to donate our brains to Canadian research and I am extremely proud of that.”

As well as Rider.

“Dr. Charles Tator is an amazing person whose life-long work has saved and enriched the lives of countless individuals. His work and positive vision are leaving a powerful legacy for future generations,” says Fran Rider, president of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association. “As a competitive hockey and fastball player for 35 years and a participant in multiple sports, I am honoured to donate my brain to science in support of the outstanding work done by medical researchers committed to safety in sport and in life.”

In addition to announcing their pledges, the CCC also announced a partnership with US-based non-profit PINK Concussion with the goal to helped Canadian women donate to Canadian research institutes.

According to the CCC the two women’s hockey pioneers and the two other female athletes who are donating their brains are “the first known female Canadian athletes to publicly pledge their brain to a Canadian research centre.”

They join follow Canadian women’s hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser, who pledged her brain to Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) in February to support research on CTE. Americans Angela Ruggiero and AJ Griswold also have pledged their brains to the CLF.