There is some concern surrounding an apparent increased risk of neurological disorders in sportspeople who have suffered from repeated concussions. This has been well established in boxers, and there is a growing recognition in the USA that footballers may also be affected.
Our knowledge on the long-term effects of concussion in Australian sportspeople is very scant. There are multiple neurological conditions that may be related to repeated concussions, and while modern technologies such as brain scanning can detect some brain diseases, definitive diagnosis of most requires analysis of actual brain tissue.
Only through examining the brains of Australian sportspeople, with and without a history of concussion or other head injury, will we know the extent of the issue in the Australian sporting population.
By donating your brain to the ASBB after your death your family (or nominated person) will receive a comprehensive neuropathology report detailing any brain disease present. But most importantly, your donation will help us to understand the cellular and molecular changes in the brains that may occur with repeated concussion.
Only with this information will our sporting communities be able to make well informed policy and effective guidelines for prevention, identification and, potentially, treatment of concussion in Australian sport.
Footy legends Peter FitzSimons (centre) and Colin Scotts (far right) have pledged their brains to the ASBB, with Brain and Mind director Professor Ian Hickie, Dr Adrian Cohen of Headsafe, and ASBB director A/Professor Michael Buckland.