The family of Todd Ewen, the NHL enforcer who committed suicide earlier this month, has decided to donate his brain to the Canadian Sports Concussion Research Project.
Ewen died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 49. He played for the St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks before retiring in 1997.
The Canadian Sports Concussion Research Project looks into the presence of brain degeneration or CTE in the brains of former athletes. They recently looked at the brain of Steve Montador, a former NHL player who died in 2015 at the age of 35. The study of Montador’s brain revealed evidence of CTE.
The NHL is currently facing a class-action lawsuit from former players, which argues that the league did not do enough to inform players of the long-term effects of concussions. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman denied a link between concussions and CTE during an interview earlier this year.
Dr. Charles Tator, a concussion expert at the center that will study Ewen’s brain, told The Hockey News that evidence suggests that concussions and CTE are linked.
“Pretty well every month, there’s another notch in the research mounting up making the connection.”