The goal of Project Enlist is to dramatically accelerate critical research on traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in military veterans. TBI due to improvised explosive devices (IED) and other military service-related causes is a significant problem for our active military and veteran community. However, the scientific understanding of TBI and related disorders, such as CTE and PTSD, is in its infancy, and we lack accurate diagnostic tests for living patients and effective treatments. There is an urgent need for scientists to better understand how to diagnose and treat TBI so they can protect the heroes who courageously fight for our nation.
CLF Project Enlist is recruiting and conducting outreach to the military and veteran communities to encourage signing up for the US Department of Veterans Affairs-Boston University-Concussion Legacy Foundation (VA-BU-CLF) Brain Bank brain donation registry. The VA's Dr. Ann McKee, director of the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, is a leader in the new VA PTSD Brain Bank, and is bringing her expertise to lead this research effort.
Brain donation has proven to be an effective accelerator of research on CTE among athletes over the last decade. By showing how CTE has affected hundreds of athletes, across multiple sports, we have inspired the scientific community to invest in CTE research. We're learning that CTE isn't just affecting athletes, but is showing up in our nation's heroes. Stories of veterans returning home with brain injuries, like Sgt. Kevin Ash, and symptoms of depression, memory loss, and bouts of rage are all too common. We know these changes are symptoms of CTE, but need to know more. Brain donation allows us to gain a better understanding of the unique effects of military brain trauma exposure.
The Honorable Matthew S. Collier, a West Point graduate, is the former Senior Advisor to the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs and served six years as a US Army Airborne Ranger Infantry Officer. Collier, who is now on the CLF Board of Directors, announced he has pledged to donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation as part of Project Enlist. Watch the video below to hear Matt discuss why he believes all Veterans should consider pledging their brains, and click here to read the full story on his brain pledge.
Military Veterans, Don Schumacher Racing team make first brain pledges to Project Enlist
At a press conference announcing the launch of Project Enlist, CLF was proud to be joined by the first group of pledges to Project Enlist, including Infinite Hero Foundation spokesperson and NHRA mainstay Gary Linfoot, former Marine Michael Wilson, and retired NAVY SEALS Jason Redman, Alexander Oliver, and Morgan Luttrell, who currently serves as Senior Advisor for Veterans Relations at the U.S. Department of Energy.
When racing legend Don Schumacher heard about Project Enlist, he felt compelled to get involved and help raise awareness for the program by pledging to donate his brain. After hearing of the team patriarch's pledge, each of Don Schumacher Racing's seven drivers – Jack Beckman, Antron Brown, Ron Capps, Matt Hagan, Tommy Johnson Jr., Leah Pritchett and Tony Schumacher – followed suit. DSR's pledge at Bandimere Speedway during the Dodge Mile-High National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) National marked the first time an entire team had made the commitment.