Concussion Legacy Foundation Global Brain Bank launches, partners with new Australian Sports Brain Bank

Monday, March 26, 2018

CLF Global Brain Bank will connect scientists around the globe in the fight against CTE and other long-term effects of brain trauma in sports

(Sydney, Australia) – The Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) announced today the launch of the CLF Global Brain Bank, a network of academic research centers that will collaborate with CLF to promote brain donation to study the effects of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and other sports-related brain trauma. The new Australian Brain Bank, a partnership between Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre, was announced today and will be the exclusive Australian collaborator in the new CLF Global Brain Bank.

The CLF Global Brain Bank is modeled off the success of CLF’s collaboration in the United States with Boston University (BU) and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which has become the world’s largest CTE brain bank with brain donations from over 500 athletes and veterans. The mission of the CLF Global Brain Bank is to accelerate research by activating the global scientific and sports communities in the fight to understand, prevent, treat, and eventually cure CTE and other trauma-related brain diseases.

CLF co-founder and CEO Chris Nowinski, Ph.D. was joined by leading Australian researchers and athletes to announce the partnership, and to call on Australians who have played sports at all levels to sign up to donate their brain for research on CTE. Australian rugby icons Ian Roberts and Peter FitzSimons and former National Football League player Colin Scotts joined to pledge their brains to the research.

“We look forward to collaborating with leading brain banks around the world to mobilize the global scientific community in the fight against CTE, and are excited to begin with the Australian Sports Brain Bank led by Dr. Michael Buckland,” said Nowinski, who co-founded of the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, and leads outreach and recruiting.

The Boston team diagnosed the first case of CTE in an Australian athlete in 2013. The brain of popular Australian rugby player and coach Barry “Tizza” Taylor, who died after a long fight with dementia, was sent to Boston for examination, and Taylor was found to have one of the five most severe cases of CTE diagnosed at the time.

“Barry Taylor’s diagnosis of CTE is a wake-up call. CTE has been diagnosed in hundreds of athletes in the United States, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil, and it’s time to commit to understanding the burden of CTE in Australian sportspeople, as well as to learning how to prevent and treat the disease, by studying their brains after death,” said Dr. Michael Buckland.

CLF will assist with outreach and recruiting efforts in Australia, and all athletes worldwide can sign up to pledge to donate their brain at GlobalBrainBank.org. More than 3,000 people have pledged their brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation to support concussion and CTE research.

The Australian Sports Brain Bank will collaborate with a number of scientists and charities in Australia to raise awareness of the need for brain donation and encourage athletes to sign up, including charities like StopConcussions, Brain Injury Australia, and HeadSafe, led by Dr. Adrian Cohen, who was instrumental to bringing together the members of the collaboration. Along with CLF, those groups will fund the study of the first five brains donated to the Australian Sports Brain Bank.

Australian Brain Bank researchers will generate a full neuropathology report on donated brains and results will be sent to the donor’s nominated doctor. Brain tissue will be stored and made available to researchers for many years to come. Members of Global Brain Bank commit to collaborative research, including using common study methods, common data elements, and sharing data to accelerate global understanding, prevention, and treatment of CTE and other consequences of head impacts in sport.

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