It may sound macabre. But advocates say a critical step to address important gender disparities in the care and research on concussions’ harms may rest in convincing more women to donate their brains to science. This has already helped to prove the debilitating and deadly effects of head trauma among men in pro sports.
In contrast to the many and growing number of male athletes (especially pro football players) and their families who have allowed post-mortem brain studies, far fewer elite female players have agreed to similar research. Stat, the online health information site, says soccer stars Brandi Chastain, Abby Wambach, and Megan Rapinoe are among the public few.
Autopsies are often the only way, for now, for experts to definitively diagnose debilitating conditions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) that result from repeated head trauma (concussions).