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Hasselbeck and Marshall's Brain Pledges Kick-off VA's 2017 Brain Trust Summit in Boston

(Boston) – May 17, 2017 – The Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) announced today that three-time NFL Pro Bowl quarterback and ESPN analyst Matt Hasselbeck and New York Giants two-time Super Bowl Champion and two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Leonard Marshall have pledged their brains to the Foundation to support research on concussions and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

The announcements were made this morning as part of the second annual VA-hosted Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion, taking place May 17-18 at the Joseph B. Martin Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. Brain Trust convenes the most influential voices in the field of brain health with the goal of continuing to advance research and solutions on behalf of Veterans for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The event features high-profile keynotes, lightning talks on brain health topics, and innovation demonstrations of new technologies supporting Veteran care. CLF is the outreach and recruiting arm of the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University.

“CTE is no joke and I don’t want to see anyone else suffer like me and my friends,” said Marshall, who is attending Brain Trust to share information about his brain pledge with attendees. “At 55 I have short-term memory loss, erratic behavior, and experience fogginess. This is literally a life-and-death matter, and it’s time we start having real, honest conversations about brain trauma in professional and youth sports.”  Marshall was the NFL Defensive Lineman of the year in both 1985 and 1986. “In pledging my brain, I hope to advance the research that will save football players, past, present and future.”

“During my football career, we didn’t have enough information on the long-term effects of concussions and brain trauma,” said Hasselbeck, whose father Don Hasselbeck was a New York Giants teammate of Leonard Marshall in 1985, and pledged his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in 2010. “I want to be part of the solution, and by pledging my brain I am doing my part to provide the data to protect the next generation of athletes.”

“We are working to create a culture of brain donation in America by asking living athletes and Veterans to donate their brains to the Brain Bank to be studied by VA and Boston University researchers,” said Concussion Legacy Foundation co-founder and CEO Chris Nowinski, PhD. “Brain Trust is the perfect venue to raise awareness because the most common victims of CTE are athletes and Veterans. Now in our 10th year studying the disease, we have taken major steps toward treatment and a cure that are only possible through collaboration among the athlete, Veteran, and scientific communities.”

The pledges were made as part of the Foundation’s My Legacy campaign, which encourages athletes to leave their legacy by helping solve the concussion crisis through brain donation or other means. More than 1,800 former athletes and military veterans have pledged to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation. People from sports and military backgrounds at all levels are encouraged to pledge their brain to research at ConcussionFoundation.org/pledge.

In 2008, the Concussion Legacy Foundation partnered with Boston University and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to create the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, now the world’s largest CTE brain bank with subspecialties in concussion, ALS, and other consequences of brain trauma. More than 400 brains have been donated, resulting in more than 250 CTE diagnoses, more than 70 percent of confirmed CTE cases globally.

To learn more about Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion, please visit: www.vabraintrust.com. Follow the conversation on social media with #VABrainTrust.

About Leonard Marshall

Leonard Allen Marshall Jr. is a former defensive lineman who played twelve seasons in the National Football League (NFL). Selected 37th overall in the 1983 NFL Draft, he spent the first ten seasons of his career with the New York Giants where he accumulated 79.5 sacks, ranking him third in team history. After the Giants, Marshall went on to play a season each for the New York Jets and Washington Redskins, then retired from football at the age of 33. He played college football at Louisiana State University.

About Matthew Hasselbeck

Matthew Michael Hasselbeck is a former American football quarterback and current analyst for ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. He played college football at Boston College and was drafted in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. After a season on the practice squad and two seasons backing up Brett Favre, he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2001. Hasselbeck led Seattle to six playoff appearances, including a Super Bowl loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005. He was selected to three Pro Bowls in his career. Hasselbeck also played for the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts.

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