Brandi Chastain's legacy as the person who made the winning goal in the 1999 World Cup will always be remembered, but her most recent goal, which is to donate her brain to the study of concussions and other degenerative brain diseases, has made her even more special to the sports community.
According to the New York Times, Chastain said, "If there's any information to be gleaned off the study of someone like myself, who has played soccer for 40 years, it feels like my responsibility."
Chastain's thoughts come from the records that no female soccer player has ever been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), though the degenerative brain disease has been detected in male players and is highly linked to receiving blows to the head during a game.
As fans of the hot sport know, soccer players never say "No" to taking blows in the head and it is actually part of the game. However, studies reveal that this part of the game might have a connection to CTE.
For Chastain, her decision to donate her brain to the studies after her death is more honorable than what she did during the '99 World Cup that made her gain the respect and love of people. "This would be a more substantial legacy," she said.
Soccer is a well-loved game not only among youth and adults but also some kids. For the 47-year-old mother and coach, her decision could save not only players in the field but also children and other people who are striving to be part of the sport.
During her interview, she admitted that she has had numerous concussions during her career as a professional player, but she ignored some of the symptoms. Today, she still suffers some of the setbacks that the ignored concussions go with, which is why she is an advocate for pushing further studies about diseases and concussions that could forever affect a soccer player's life.
Aside from her plans, Chastain also shared that she has talked to Abby Wambach, another player who is known in the sport for her many accomplishments in the field, particularly related to scoring goals using her head.
It is unclear if Wambach and other retired players Chastain has talked to are also planning to do the same, but she believes that Wambach is one of the more interesting people who can join her cause in possibly providing the answers that researchers are looking for regarding brain problems related to soccer.