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Oxford rugby players pledge to donate brains

By PA
Oxford's Andrew Durutalo (left) is tackled by Cambridge's Zac Bischoff during the men's varsity match at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium last year (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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The whole Oxford University men’s rugby team have pledged to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Project ahead of Saturday’s Varsity Match with Cambridge.

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This weekend’s meeting at Twickenham marks the 150th anniversary of the annual fixture and Oxford have followed the lead of England World Cup winner Steve Thompson.

Thompson pledged to donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Project in September when the brain bank was formed through a partnership between Concussion Legacy Foundation UK and the Jeff Astle Foundation.

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PFA bosses Maheta Molango and John Mousinho also signed up to donate their brains to help the organisation with research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and other consequences of brain trauma in contact sport.

The Oxford men’s team have now become the latest sporting athletes to pledge their brains to the Concussion Legacy Project to help try to stop the growing number of former rugby players becoming diagnosed with dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr Adam White, executive director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation UK, said: “We have a goal of finding a cure for CTE by 2040 and to do that we need to accelerate the research by looking at more brains now.

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“Donating your brain is a tremendous gift and we hope the leadership shown by Nick Civetta, Louis Jackson and the rest of the Blues varsity team will inspire others to come forward and participate in both brain bank and clinical research. If the athletes of today participate in research, we can have a cure for CTE within their lifetime.”

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