Two teammates from the 1950s who died recently, both Pro Football Hall of Famers, donated their brains to a Boston University study of head trauma.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Joe Perry, who died in April at age 84, and John Henry Johnson, who died last week at age 81, agreed before they died to have their brains studied.
Perry’s widow, Donna, said she thinks her husband suffered brain damage in football and hopes the study of his brain can lead to a better understanding of what hits on the football field can do to the brain.
“When Joe was playing, they’d give them smelling salts and put them back in,” Donna Perry said. “Now the equipment is better, and they’re looking into ways to protect them. We have to look at what this is doing to our children.”
Johnson and Perry were both members of the 49ers’ “Million Dollar Backfield.”