Former NHL Player J.T. Brown Pledges Brain To Concussion Legacy Foundation

Photo: NHL via Getty Images

JT Brown became the second active NHL player to pledge his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston. The Foundation’s mission is 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.

Brown made the decision while playing for the Minnesota Wild in his final National Hockey League season in 2018-19, but had not made his decision public until today. 

“We need more information about brain injuries and concussions, the kind of information you can get from studying brains after someone has died,” Brown said in an interview with TSN. “I love hockey and want to see the game grow and would love to try to do what I can to make it safer for future generations.”

He was the second active NHL player to pledge his brain to science, following former New Jersey Devils player Ben Lovejoy, who made the commitment to the same foundation in 2017.

“I think about my brain health, with the style of game I played,” he said. “I was a small player, stature wise, and played gritty and played with lots of energy and tried to hit everything that moved… I don’t know what the impact of the fighting has been on my brain. That’s part of the reason I’m doing this.”

Brown said he suffered at least two documented concussions playing professional hockey, the worst of which occurred during a random play.

“It was innocent,” he said. “Wayne Simmonds and I were skating through the neutral zone. Neither of us was looking at the other. He barely clipped my chin. He wasn’t trying to do anything. There are times you get your head rammed into the boards and no problem; you don’t feel anything. Then you barely get touched and you have to miss time.

“I missed two weeks with that. I had headaches, the sensitivity to light. I was feeling down, feeling foggy. Then you think you can go and play but working out you can just tell your body isn’t right. You’re out of synch.”

Brown was named a television analyst for the league’s newest franchise in Seattle, the team announced on June 21. He will join play-by-play announcer John Forslund in calling games on ROOT Sports Northwest for the Seattle Kraken’s first season in 2021-22.

In a career that spanned 365 games from 2011-2019, Brown had 23 goals and 49 assists, while skating for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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