Warren Sapp to donate brain for research on concussions, head trauma

3:05 | NFL
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Tuesday June 20th, 2017

Warren Sapp announced Tuesday on The Players' Tribune that he will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

The seven-time Pro Bowler wrote it was always his goal to "leave the game better than it was" when he started playing, and he "wanted to put his two cents in" regarding concussion research and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

CTE is a progressive degenerative brain disease found in people who have experienced repeated blows to the head causing repetitive brain trauma. The disease, which can only be diagnosed posthumously, has been linked to football. 

In addition to his declining memory, Sapp also pointed to the struggles of fellow Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti as another reason he wanted to help out. Buoniconti recently revealed to Sports Illustrated some of the ways his brain has started to fail him, including forgetting how to tie a tie or use a towel to dry his back.

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Researchers at the Concussion Legacy Foundation, which was founded in 2007 by former pro wrestler Chris Nowinski and Dr. Robert Cantu, have identified CTE in 91 of the first 95 brains of deceased NFL players they have studied. In 2008, the foundation partnered with the Boston University School of Medicine, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to create the Center for Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, which features the world's largest CTE tissue repository.

Earlier this year, former players such as Matt Hasselbeck, Leonard Marshall and Frank Wycheck also pledged to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

"You can't stand on the sidelines if you want to affect something," Sapp writes. "You gotta make a move. You gotta do something."

Sapp played 13 years in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders, collecting 96.5 sacks during his career. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. 

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