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Flames Star Huberdeau Pledges Brain to Research

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It’s been a month of big signings for Calgary Flames star Jonathan Huberdeau.

He recently signed an eight-year extension worth $84 million, the richest in Calgary Flames history. And per CBC on Monday, it was announced the 29-year-old winger will donate his brain to Project Enlist Canada for research on brain injuries.

“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 in the news release quoted by CBC.

Huberdeau joined astronaut Marc Garneau and 170 Canadian armed forces members and veterans in making the pledge.

The concussion issue has been controversial when it comes to the NHL. It has impacted many lives of former players, including former Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers defenceman Steve Montador.

Montador died in 2015 and his was diagnosed with CTE after his death. Before his death, life changed dramatically because of brain trauma. That story is now captured in Ken Dryden’s book Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador, and the Future of Hockey.

University of Calgary medical school grad and women’s hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser pledged to donate her brain four years ago to honour Montador.

Huberdeau follows the footsteps of Ben Lovejoy, the first active NHL player to pledge to donate his brain in 2017. Other NHL alumni to pledge include the outspoken Daniel Carcillo.

The program researches traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in military veterans to better treat and diagnose those injuries.

“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,” Huberdeau said.

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