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NHL All-Star Jonathan Huberdeau pledges to donate brain in solidarity with Canadian soldiers for research on TBI, CTE & PTSD

Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada, CAMH Brain Health Imaging Centre, and Anthem Sports & Entertainment partner to encourage Veterans and CAF personnel to pledge to donate their brains, participate in research

(Toronto) The NHL’s second leading scorer, Jonathan Huberdeau, former astronaut Marc Garneau, All-Ivy hockey star, Kalley Armstrong, and Major General (retired) Denis Thompson, have joined 170 Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans in pledging to donate their brains to Project Enlist Canada for research on brain injuries.

“As an NHL player, I’m very aware of the impact of traumatic brain injuries, concussions and the link to other mental health issues,” said Jonathan Huberdeau, Calgary Flames forward. “I’m proud to support Canadian military veterans by pledging to donate my brain to Project Enlist and support research to improve the quality of life of all military personnel who so bravely and courageously served our country.”

Project Enlist is the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada (CLFC)’s program which aims to serve as a catalyst for research on traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in military Veterans to help researchers and clinicians learn how to better treat and diagnose the signature wound of war.

“Concussions ended my hockey career, but I have been able to recover. Other are not so lucky,” said Kalley Armstrong, former Harvard Hockey captain. “It is important all Canadians understand that mental health issues can result from brain injuries and research will lead to new treatments. I am proud to support Canadian military members in pledging my brain to Project Enlist Canada.”

To encourage other veterans to pledge, CLFC, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Brain Health Imaging Centre and Anthem Sports & Entertainment have created a Public Service Announcement for Project Enlist. In the PSA, and this feature video, Master Warrant Officer Brendan Hynes shares the powerful story of how suffering multiple traumatic brain injuries serving in the Canadian Forces impacted his life and caused suicidal ideation.

CAF members and Veterans can join Master Warrant Officer Hynes and pledge to donate their brains at    

CLFC recently forged a partnership with the CAMH Brain Health Imaging Centre to conduct research on brain tissue donated to CLFC. This partnership will significantly expand research on a number of brain injuries among Canada’s military personnel.

CLFC has also sent a Letter of Intent seeking a federal support to help Canada become the global leader in understanding and addressing the effects of traumatic brain injuries on military personnel and achieving gender equity in military brain research.

Additional Quotes

“Brain injuries appear to play a significant role in the mental health challenges of Canada’s military personnel. Project Enlist aims to better understand the relationship between the traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mental health. Our soldiers courageously put their lives on the line to protect us. Now, it is our turn to help them live their best lives.” - Tim Fleiszer, Executive Director of Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada

“We are excited about the unprecedented partnership between the CAMH Brain Health Imaging Centre and CLFC. We are already working together to access post-mortem brain tissue from professional athletes for imaging studies. We will now also carry out cutting-edge brain imaging studies in Canadians living with CTE to improve diagnosis and treatment strategies.” – Dr. Neil Vasdev, Director of the Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry & the Brain Health Imaging Centre at CAMH

“Even though I served in the military and played college football for several years, I didn’t know much until recently, about the risk of long-term effects from repetitive head impacts. I knew that getting a concussion required you to take some time off to recover but knew almost nothing about CTE and the symptoms one can experience years after the hits stop. More research is urgently required on brain injury, and I’m pleased to contribute to this research” - Marc Garneau, Member of Parliament

“Anthem Sports and Entertainment is proud to be able to use its media platforms to support the important efforts of the CLFC and CAMH,” says Leonard Asper, CEO of Anthem Sports and Entertainment.  “We stand alongside so many brave people who are affected by brain injuries; no matter the cause.  We just knew Anthem had do its part to help share this message of courage, hope and education for such a critical issue.” – Len Asper, CEO of Anthem Sports & Entertainment

“I am all about the science. I have learned so much and encourage all military service members to educate themselves, pledge to donate their brains and seek assistance through the HelpLine, if they are suffering.” – Bruno Guevremont, Former paratrooper and diver

“The cumulative effects of mTBI are just beginning to be understood in sport.  The similarity of sport to military service is striking, however, substantive research on the military members is nascent.  Signing up for Project Enlist Canada will help close this knowledge gap.” - Denis Thompson, Maj Gen (retired), Canadian Armed Forces

“Despite my background in professional football and my service in Afghanistan, once I was diagnosed with PTSD, not a single one of the almost two dozen health caregivers asked me about my history of head injuries” - Ryan Carey, Canadian Veteran

About Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada

The Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada was founded in December of 2012 by four-time Grey Cup champion, Tim Fleiszer, to help solve the concussion crisis in Canada. Since that time, CLF Canada has operated prevention, education and awareness events across the country, reaching more than 25,000 Canadians in-person and hundreds of thousands of Canadians digitally. CLF Canada received its charitable status in 2014.

With chapters now in the United Kingdom, and the United States, Robert Cantu, MD, and Chris Nowinski, PhD, founded Concussion Legacy Foundation to support athletes, Veterans, and all affected by concussions and CTE; achieve smarter sports and safer athletes through education and innovation; and to End CTE through prevention and research in 2007.

About the CAMH Brain Health Imaging Centre

The CAMH Brain Health Imaging Centre research focuses on developing new imaging techniques to better understand various brain-based illnesses. The Centre is currently investigating the causes of several mental illness and injuries, including Alzheimer’s disease; traumatic brain injuries; and brain inflammation in mental illnesses. Several of the imaging techniques and methodologies developed at CAMH are in use worldwide, including CAMH-developed compounds used for first-in-human neuroimaging studies.

Dr. Neil Vasdev is the Director of the Brain Health Imaging Centre at CAMH. He is also the Director of the Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry and serves as the Chief Radiochemist at CAMH. He is the endowed Azrieli Chair in Brain and Behaviour, and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Radiochemistry and Nuclear Medicine, and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. 

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