Don Schumacher and his racing team pledge their brains to CTE research
Racing legend Don Schumacher and all seven members of the Don Schumacher Racing team have pledged to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in hopes of advancing research into traumatic brain injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
The announcement at the Bandimere Speedway in Colorado is one of the largest group pledges outside of the world of football. While over 3,500 former athletes and veterans have pledged their brains, this is the first time an entire team has made the pledge to donate their brains.
It is also the first time drag racers have pledged to donate their brains.
While racing may not seem like a sport vulnerable to the effects of head injuries, drivers experience intense vibrations, high levels of g-forces, and occasional crashes while behind the wheel – all of which can cause lasting brain trauma.
At the event, team owner Don Schumacher and all seven drivers – Jack Beckman, Antron Brown, Ron Capps, Matt Hogan, Tommy Johnson Jr., Leah Pritchett, and Tony Schumacher – said they hope their pledge will improve the racing industry and help military veterans.
“None of this is really something that I consider anything special,” Schumacher said at the announcement. “I feel this is a really sensible, normal thing that we should do, because we might be able to help somebody.”
The pledge was inspired by an initiative from team partner Infinite Hero Foundation (IFH), who had partnered with the Concussion Legacy Foundation to research CTE and PTSD in military veterans. After hearing about the program, Schumacher said he felt inspired to contribute what he could.
“Donating my brain for research to help other individuals in this world is something that I’m more than willing to do. It surprised my wife, Sarah, but she also agreed to me doing this based on its potential to help drivers, soldiers, business people and the population of the world,” Schumacher stated.
“I support this foundation 100 percent and was thrilled that my seven drivers agreed to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation,” added Schumacher, who was recently named to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America’s Class of 2019.