PFA chief executive Maheta Molango and chair John Mousinho have pledged to donate their brains as part of a new initiative backed by the Jeff Astle Foundation.
The partnership with Concussion Legacy Foundation UK will research Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and other consequences of brain trauma in athletes and military veterans in the United Kingdom.
On Thursday, Rugby World Cup winner Steve Thompson became the first athlete to pledge to the Concussion Legacy Project’s ‘brain bank‘, having previously confirmed a diagnosis of early onset dementia and memory blanks which include the 2003 final between England and Australia.
Molango, who played professional football in England with Brighton, Lincoln and Oldham, said: “While being very mindful of taking immediate steps to protect current players, in the long-term ongoing research is vital to enable us to be able to answer more questions and best support members.
“We have been listening and engaging with leading academic experts, and they tell us that brain donation is a key piece to the puzzle in understanding CTE.
“We are excited to join a global network of the most prominent researchers in this area.”
Oxford United midfielder Mousinho took on his role with the PFA in May and continues to turn out for the League One side he has represented since 2017 as part of a near 16-year professional career.
“Brain donation is an intensely personal decision for former players and their families,” he added.
“However, I have been inspired by the team at the Concussion Legacy Foundation and The Jeff Astle Foundation, and I have decided to commit my brain to future research in the hope that it can help play a part in protecting future generations.
“The Concussion Legacy Foundation has a strong ethos of supporting families and everyone affected by brain injury, and they are values we share at the PFA.”
Dawn Astle, who has been campaigning for two decades for football’s authorities to publicly recognise a link between the repeated heading of a football and dementia in later life, has given her full support to the new concussion initiative.
Speaking on behalf of The Jeff Astle Foundation, the daughter of the former England striker stated: “Brain donation is the most valuable gift of all for future generations of footballers. It may be many years before this jigsaw is complete but adding each piece, one at a time is the only way we will understand the true picture and make a better future for others.
“The Jeff Astle Foundation encourages families of athletes and veterans to donate the brain of their loved one to the Concussion Legacy Project at PledgeMyBrain.org.”