While here in Chicago the topic of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, was recently in the news with the suicide death of former Bears and Giants player Dave Duerson. I stumbled across this article. When Duerson committed suicide in Miami last month, he texted his ex-wife and left a note asking that his brain be given to the NFL's "Brain Bank". He then shot himself in the chest to preserve his brain for research, how hardcore and sad is that? Duerson was suffering extreme bouts of memory loss and in order to help scientists learn about this, chose an extremely painful way to die. Boston University and the NFL has setup a partnership to conduct post-mortem analyses of players' brains, hoping to gain a better understanding of the long term effects of head impacts. What was news to me was that Bob Probert's brain was also given to Boston University to be analyzed.
Hockey doesn't immediately bring to mind the type of helmet to helmet impact that is seen every down in a football game. However, when an elbow goes rogue or a player gets blindsided and misses extended periods of time with various symptoms, we remember that hockey can be just as dangerous as football or boxing, even if the impact to the head is not as hard or frequent. The simple fact that brain injuries are hard to diagnose, have unique symptoms and may not even present themselves for decades makes this type of research vital. Not just for professionals, but also for everyone that plays the sport. Take a quick read of this article, it's quite interesting.