SPORTS

John Forzani's brain donated to Canadian Sports Concussion Project

11/04/2014 05:56 EST | Updated 01/04/2015 05:59 EST
John Forzani's brain has been donated to the Canadian Sports Concussion Project to be studied at a Toronto hospital.

Forzani, 67, had been on life-support in a California hospital after suffering a heart attack. He died on Friday.

The former lineman was part-owner of the Calgary Stampeders and played for the team for six seasons in the 1970s.

His close friend and former teammate Basil Bark said Forzani suffered a number of concussions during his football-playing days.

"I remember one game John got hit hard and his helmet broke," said Basil, "We didn’t have another one, so he continued to play with it. He was glassy-eyed after the game, and who knows what the effects were?"

The Canadian Sports Concussion Project, led by neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Tator, is a study into the long-term effects of concussions on professional football players.

The team of researchers includes 15 scientists and clinicians at Toronto Western Hospital.

Bark said he and Forzani spoke about brain donation in the past.

“I was experiencing some depression and memory loss and I discussed this with John. We looked more into what [chronic traumatic encephalopathy​] is about and agreed that if this helps put the discussion further and helps anybody that is coming up in the ranks, we agreed that it is definitely worthwhile," said Bark.

Former NHL players Ken Dryden, Doug Gilmour, Tie Domi and Mark Savard are involved with the project through its advisory group.

Other former CFL players who have donated their brains to the project include Bill Frank, Jeffrey Croonen, Peter Ribbins, Tony Proudfoot, Jay Roberts, Bobby Kuntz, Doug McIvor, Cookie Gilchrist, Ted Toogood and Bryan Illerbrun.

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