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Ravens center Matt Birk plans to donate his brain to research after he dies

Frank Schwab
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(USA Today Sports Images)

There's no escaping the concussion issue in football, especially not in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.

The latest talk about concussions this week involves Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk, a 15-year NFL veteran who said he will donate his brain to be studied after he dies.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Birk said he'll donate to the Boston University medical school that studies chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition that is being linked to repeated blows to the head.

After many years pounding against massive NFL defensive tackles, Birk admits that he is concerned about possible lingering effects to his brain, saying "it's scary."

"Sometimes you worry about it, especially if something happens like you can't find your car keys," Birk said, according to the Star Tribune. "You think, 'Oh my gosh.' You overreact a little bit. You think, 'Is this from football? Is this why I can't remember why I came into this room?' Of course, it's not. Especially if you're a parent. You have mush brain if you're a parent."

The issue isn't going to die down anytime soon. This week the NFL announced its plan to have independent neurological consultants on the sideline next season. Perhaps that will be another step in the right direction.

“The team physician is in the best position to make these evaluations because of the unique knowledge that the team physician has of the player,” Jeff Pash, the NFL’s executive vice president of labor and general counsel, said according to NFLEvolution.com. “A concussion is a different kind of injury. Sometimes, there may be obvious signs, but sometimes, they’re subtle.

“The goal is to have expertise, the highest-quality care, make sure that we’re administering protocols that have been put in place in a thorough, comprehensive way, and we think this additional physician will accomplish that.”

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