Former rugby players in New Zealand asked to donate brains for research into concussion and head injuries

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Former rugby players in New Zealand are being asked to donate their brains to research when they die as part of a study aimed at learning about the long-term effects of concussion and head injuries from contact sports.

The Centre for Brain Research (CBR) at the University of Auckland launched the initiative on Friday and said it was seeking athletes from sports like rugby, soccer and boxing to donate their brains even if they had not experienced concussion.

Head injuries are a major concern for New Zealand sports and health authorities with more than 20% of all brain injuries in the country sustained through contact sports.

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Last year more than 9,000 reported concussions in New Zealand were in people aged under 19.

“Adding a sports injury aspect to its existing research platform is a significant step for the CBR and promises to deepen our understanding of the impact sports injuries have on the brain,” the centre said in a statement.

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