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Deceased NHL player Montador offered years ago to donate brain for concussion research

Before concussions were a hot-button topic in hockey, Steve Montador knew all about the impact of head injuries. Five years ago, while he was still playing in the NHL, Montador committed to donating his brain to future research.

Dr. Charles Tator of the University of Toronto told that story at Montador's memorial service Saturday in Mississauga, Ont. It's one final showing of generosity that many of his friends and former teammates didn't know about.


February 25, 2015
By Stephen Whyno The Canadian Press

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“He didn’t know when it was going to be, but when it did happen he
wanted to donate his brain,” former Calgary Flames teammate and current
assistant general manager Craig Conroy said. “That just tells you what
kind of person he was. Obviously it’s way too early, but if it helps
someone else, that’s what he was always about.”

Montador died
Feb. 15 at the age of 35, more than a year after lingering concussion
symptoms forced him to leave his KHL team in Croatia. The defenceman
didn’t play professional hockey again.

His decision to donate his brain didn’t surprise those close to him.

“He
was very intellectual himself and looking for answers and trying to
figure out what made things work and how to improve things,” retired
enforcer George Parros said. “And if he could donate his brain to figure
out how to best treat concussions and things like that, then he would
certainly do it.”

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Brain injuries have been the subject of much
discussion lately, especially after the 2011 death of enforcer Derek
Boogaard. Research determined Boogaard, who died of an accidental drug
overdoes, had CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) a degenerative
brain condition.

Rick Martin of Buffalo Sabres French Connection
fame and former Detroit Red Wings tough guy Bob Probert were also
posthumously diagnosed with CTE, which has also been found in NFL
players and professional wrestlers. Research is ongoing to determine the
link between concussions, depression and CTE.

Longtime
defenceman Mathieu Schneider had concussions during his career but was
fortunate they didn’t affect him as much as they did Montador, who
battled depression at times when he was unable to play.

“Obviously
it had a tremendous effect on his life,” said Schneider, who got to
know Montador through work with the NHL Players’ Association. “The
players that do have those effects are extremely passionate about it and
he was certainly one of the most vocal. He was a leader.”


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