New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy has become the first active National Hockey League player to pledge to donate his brain to CTE research.
Lovejoy announced his pledge on Thursday after his agent reached out to Concussion Legacy Foundation. Lovejoy is not the first player of the NHL to join that group.
The 33-year-old defenseman discussed the possibility of donating his brain with his wife three or four years ago, but things officially went into motion in recent months.
“Hockey has been so good to me,” Lovejoy said in a Dec. 6 interview with TSN. “It’s helped me make a ton of friends, travel the country and world, and given me an amazing job that has paid me really well. My entire life has revolved exclusively around hockey and I want to give my brain to help make this game safer.”
The veteran defender has not suffered any significant concussions or head injuries over the course of his hockey caree, but witnessing teammates deal with those issues, Lovejoy chose to make any impact he can down the line.
“I’m spoiled to have done this for so long,” he said. “I’ve had teammates who are superstars and others who are minor-league role players who have struggled, missed time, and ended careers because of concussions. I want to do anything I can to help.”
Lovejoy added that he will not push other members of the NHL to follow in his footsteps, but he will happily be there for anyone who decides to follow suit.
Lovejoy has suited up in 432 and 218 NHL and AHL games in his career.