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Senators Ryan Shannon will donate his brain to science for concussion study

Dec 19, 2010, 1:30 PM EST

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Concussions have become a major point of talk around the NHL and other major sports of late. Scientists are continuing to study what happens to a person’s brain when they’ve sustained a blow to the head and what it does to a person to have their gray matter jolted in violent ways.

The study of concussions is always evolving and doctors are learning more each day but there’s generally only so much they can do to study what happens to one’s brain while it’s still locked away inside your skull. Senators forward Ryan Shannon is looking to help out scientists in the best way that he can. He’s going to donate his brain to science for research. Chris Stevenson of Sun Media shares Shannon’s reasons for wanting to help.

“Now you’re getting into who I am at the core. It’s a deep question for a human being. We have a responsibility to advance humanity and anything that does that is a good thing. It could help.”

Shannon said once the word gets around about studies like the one being undertaken at Toronto Western Hospital, there will be others willing to donate their brains to grow the body of knowledge.

“When you think of the advance of our race, you think about industry and ideas,” Shannon said. “Now it seems to be about the mind. There’s so much we don’t know about it. I think a lot of people will be willing to help in a lot of ways.”

Shannon has suffered two concussions in his career and for him and many players like him, the NHL stepping up in their efforts to curtail head shots to prevent future injuries is a step in the right direction. It’s almost impossible to eliminate head injuries in hockey without forcing the game to be played at half speed with zero physicality, but severely punishing players who target unsuspecting opponents in the head with a hit makes too much sense.

Reading Shannon’s take on this makes for some incredible existential reading. It’s a cause that’s really taken him to heart and his wont to see concussion studies grow and improve is impressive. The more help science can get in figuring out what makes a person’s brain tick and how it breaks down when it’s jolted in such violent ways the better we’ll all be for it. After all, it’s not just pro athletes that suffer from concussions. Opting to ultimately make such a contribution to advance the human race is incredible.

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