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Retired soccer star Brandi Chastain pledges her brain for CTE research

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Former U.S. soccer star Brandi Chastain will donate her brain for CTE research, she announced Thursday.

High-contact sports like football and hockey have long dominated the discussion of the degenerative disease. But recent evidence suggests that athletes in other sports, including soccer, are also at risk of the repeated subconcussive blows that can lead to CTE.

Chastain will be among the first women to donate her brain for CTE research. Researchers at Boston University, who will receive Chastain's brain, have studied 307 brains for signs of the disease, the New York Times notes, of which only seven belonged to women. None of the women's brains studied were found to have CTE.

Chastain, 47, played 12 years with the U.S. Women's National Team, during which the team won two World Cups and gold at the 1996 Olympic Games. She is known for her iconic celebration after converting the winning goal in a penalty shootout at the 1999 World Cup final, tearing off her jersey as she sank to her knees on the field.