JT Brown enjoyed a National Hockey League career that spanned 365 games split between the Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning. But it's a future off-ice contribution that he's going to perhaps be remembered most for.
Earlier this week, Brown announced that he would be pledging his brain to the research of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, (also known as CTE) through the Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston.
“We need more information about brain injuries and concussions, the kind of information you can get from studying brains after someone has died,” Brown explained. “I love hockey and want to see the game grow and would love to try to do what I can to make it safer for future generations.”
“I think about my brain health, with the style of game I played,” he said. “I was a small player, stature wise, and played gritty and played with lots of energy and tried to hit everything that moved… I don’t know what the impact of the fighting has been on my brain. That’s part of the reason I’m doing this.”
Of course, Brown was known on the ice for his physical style of play
"I always played a more physical style of game, especially in the NHL,” Brown said. “I definitely got into quite a few fights as well."
In fact, Brown got into 26 fights during his NHL career, along with three bouts in junior hockey. However, it was a broken play that led to Brown suffering the worst of the two concussions he sustained.
“It was innocent,” he said. “Wayne Simmonds and I were skating through the neutral zone. Neither of us was looking at the other. He barely clipped my chin. He wasn’t trying to do anything. There are times you get your head rammed into the boards and no problem; you don’t feel anything. Then you barely get touched and you have to miss time.
“I missed two weeks with that. I had headaches, the sensitivity to light. I was feeling down, feeling foggy. Then you think you can go and play but working out you can just tell your body isn’t right. You’re out of synch.”
He becomes the second active NHL player to pledge his brain to science, with the other being defenseman Ben Lovejoy. Former player Keith Primeau, who's career ended thanks to concussions, has also pledged to do the same.