Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau pledges brain to science

Calgary Flames left winger Jonathan Huberdeau says he will donate his brain to science after he passes away. Huberdeau is following in the path of former New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who became the first active NHL player to make that commitment in 2017 when he pledged to give his brain to science to be studied for traumatic brain injuries.

Huberdeau will be donating his brain to Project Enlist, the Canadian Partner of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

“As an NHL player, I’m very aware of the impact of traumatic brain injuries, concussions and the link to other mental health issues,” Huberdeau said Monday in a Project Enlist release. “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.”

Since 2008 The Concussion Legacy Foundation has seen more than 2,800 former athletes and military veterans pledge to the foundation. That includes Eric Lindros and Hayley Wickenheiser. Former Harvard University captain Kalley Armstrong, who is the granddaughter of Maple Leafs legend George Armstrong, and retired major-general Denis Thompson have also pledged to have their brains studied for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative condition that can cause violent mood swings, depression, memory loss and other cognitive problems. The foundation focuses on research and education for future athletes.

Huberdeau, 29, set an NHL record for assists in a season by a left winger with 85 in 2021-22 and set a Florida Panthers franchise record for points in a season with 115. He was traded along with defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to the Flames in July in a blockbuster deal for Matthew Tkachuk. Huberdeau signed an eight-year, $84 million extension with a $10.5 million AAV last week to become a long-term Flame.

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