Chastain is the 780th person to make a brain donation to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, but only about 20 percent of the donations have come from #women so hers is a very important one. Additionally, she is the most well-known female athlete to donate her brain thus far, so the hope is that her decision to make her donation will bring about more awareness for concussions and head injuries as a whole.
“I would love for them to be able to dissect what happened in my brain, kind of like a tree when you cut it in half,” she said recently. “You look at the circles and you know its age and you know more about what happened from there. What is going on from 8 to 11 years old, or 11 to 14, or 15 to 20, or beyond? Then, maybe there could be more evaluation about a certain period in a young athlete’s life. Maybe we can be more aware of what happens or what not to allow to happen.”
Chastain has agreed to donate her brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation when she dies so that it can be used for concussion research. Chastain—who says she sustained a series of diagnosed and undiagnosed concussions throughout her soccer career—told the Boston Globe that she believes her concussions have led to her dealing with everything from depression to memory loss. She suspects she may have CTE or another degenerative brain issue. And she’s hopeful that her brain could reveal the effects that concussions have on athletes.
#Brandi Chastain will forever be remembered for ripping her jersey off in celebration after scoring the game-winning penalty kick against China during the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup final. But that might not be the lasting image that people have of her thanks to an announcement that she just made.