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Matt Birk urges fellow NFL players to donate their brains

Matt Birk AP

Ravens center Matt Birk has been using the high profile of Super Bowl week to talk to fellow players and the media about one of the issues most important to him: encouraging NFL players to donate their brains to a Boston University program that researches brain injuries in sports.

“I compare it to being an organ donor. To me it’s not that big a deal. Terrible pun – it’s a no-brainer,” Birk said. “It really is, because once you’re gone, you’re gone, and if some or your organs or body parts can help somebody else or help further the understanding of the effects of football then I’m all for it.”

Birk acknowledged that he’s concerned about the toll that all his years of playing football may have taken on his brain. But he said there’s a risk of overreacting to that.

“Sometimes you worry about it, especially if something happens like you can’t find your car keys,” Birk said. “You think, ‘Oh my gosh.’ You overreact a little bit. You think, ‘Is this from football, is that why I can’t remember why I came into this room?’”

Birk says he would allow his three sons to play football. And he hopes that brain research can provide insight that might make the game safer in the future.

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13 Responses to “Matt Birk urges fellow NFL players to donate their brains”
  1. pabrownsfan says: Feb 1, 2013 7:04 AM

    As an organ donor i couldnt agree more.

  2. joetoronto says: Feb 1, 2013 7:17 AM

    Should they wait till they’re dead first, or is it urgent?

  3. vikesandravens78 says: Feb 1, 2013 7:38 AM

    He’s a smart man. Players would be wise to listen to him.

  4. stlsteelerfan says: Feb 1, 2013 8:04 AM

    Steeler fan here: Matt Birk is a Ravens player I like. And that’s saying a lot.

  5. gochargersgo says: Feb 1, 2013 8:54 AM

    If only a few dozen decide to each year it would make a big difference. Even players who dont play as much would serve as a great comparative base.

  6. waxthat says: Feb 1, 2013 9:00 AM

    My favorite Raven…only one with a brain ;)

  7. spartan822 says: Feb 1, 2013 9:25 AM

    Matt Birk is a class act and all around good guy, and it’s a good cause. With that said, I only hope that the science will remain unbiased and not get corrupted by money or other agendas.

  8. scoobies05 says: Feb 1, 2013 11:39 AM

    since coming to baltimore matt birk has done lots of great things in our community and to try and help his fellow players. he seems to be a truly up front class guy. the league and society need more like him. go ravens!!

  9. Ponder This says: Feb 1, 2013 1:08 PM

    Bryant McKinnie has already donated his brain.

  10. thegreatgabbert says: Feb 1, 2013 2:57 PM

    For the average person on the street, donating a brain is a big deal. But for a professional football player, it’s a “small” donation.

  11. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Feb 1, 2013 3:32 PM

    I’m guessing the part of Matt Birk’s brain that allows for compassion toward g@y people is really tiny.

  12. Ponder This says: Feb 1, 2013 5:03 PM

    I’m sure he feels compassion for you, Carl.

  13. patssteelersorgiants says: Feb 1, 2013 5:43 PM

    Does Sluggs even have one to donate?

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