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Brandi Chastain to donate brain for concussion research

Retired U.S. soccer star Brandi Chastain plans to donate her brain to Boston University’s Concussion Legacy Foundation, USA Today reported.

“I’m not going to be needing it at the end of my life, No. 1,” Chastain told the newspaper, “and hopefully, what can be learned is, can doctors and scientists and neuroscientists look at the brain of someone like me, who has been playing soccer a majority of my life, and really dissect the brain and say, ‘Here’s where we see it beginning?’ Could we then use that information to help say that before the age of 14, it’s not a good idea to head the ball?’ “

Chastain, 47, says she feels fine and there are no indications she’s currently suffering from brain trauma. She told USA Today she suffered two concussions during matches while in college and like many high-level athletes continued playing.

The report said Olympic swimmer Jenny Thompson and soccer player Cindy Parlow Cone have also donated their brains to BU.

“Because so many young people are playing soccer, boys and girls alike," Chastain said, "for me, a great legacy would be that when people think of me and the U.S. women’s national team, I’d hope they would say that she left soccer in a better place than when she started. So this decision would hopefully be at the top of the list, while the penalty kick from '99 would fall in there somewhere, but not as the most important thing.”