CINCINNATI -- Bengals offensive tackle Eric Winston pledged to donate his brain to science to help further research of football-related head trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday.
Winston, who also leads the NFL as union president, acknowledged that concussions and brain trauma are hot topics in the league right now, saying "there's a lot of noise out there in this space."
“I think that’s a good thing, even though some of it hasn’t been proven yet, some of it still need a lot more research," Winston told Sports Illustrated. "But it’s a lot better than 15 years ago when no one was saying anything.”
Concussion -- a critically acclaimed movie that follows the career of Dr. Bennet Omalu -- premieres in theaters on Christmas Day, possibly to the dismay of the NFL. Omalu's career was dedicated to studying CTE by performing autopsies on deceased NFL players. His findings were repeatedly rejected by the NFL.
Last year's Sony email leak revealed a representative for Will Smith predicted, "Concussion is going to piss off the NFL...We are going to be facing a powerful adversary that may try to prevent the movie from being made—and, failing that, to ensure that as few people as possible see it or take it seriously."
Earlier this week, the NFL vetoed the use of $16 million worth of funds gifted to concussion research — a gift the league previously said came with "no strings attached,” according to a report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines. Despite the NFL’s reluctance to participate, the study will still happen.