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Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe commit brains to concussion research

South Korea v United States

HARRISON, NJ - MAY 30: Abby Wambach #20 of United States heads the ball but is unable to score in the first half during an international friendly match at Red Bull Arena on May 30, 2015 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Two high-profile USWNT players have confirmed they will donate their brains to scientific research regarding concussions, writes Lindsay Claiborn of Fox Soccer.

Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe both confirmed this sentiment at a forum at Ohio State University.

The news is significant at a time when, not only are many professional athletes across multiple sports doing the same, but a focus concussion awareness is at an all-time high in the sport. In addition, many across the sport of soccer have put a focus on not just major concussions, but smaller head trauma as well, such as the small jostles the brain takes with each header or a smaller fall. Just last November, US Soccer banned heading for children under the age of 10.

In a story done by NBC Soccer in February 2015 focused on a head-impact sensor, the CEO of sensor technology company X2 Biosystems admitted their research data has found that the most dangerous head impacts could be the most routine of them all. For someone like Wambach, who built a massive part of her record-setting career around headed goals, her brain could hold the secrets of those smaller, less feared impacts.

The head-impact research world continues to win commitments from valuable circles. Fellow USWNT’er Brandi Chastain confirmed she will donate her brain to research, and NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt, Jr. announced the same just yesterday. The NFL just recently acknowledged the link between football and the now well-known disease CTE, a major win for the scientific community.

But soccer continues to lag behind, with the world game still continuing to take baby steps, seemingly to simply appease public pressure rather than to truly protect the players who make up the FIFA community. With Wambach and Rapinoe’s commitments, hopefully down the road we can learn valuable information that will make the game safer for the future generations.

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