December 5, 2017 1:52 pm
Updated: December 5, 2017 1:59 pm

Alouettes’ linebacker Kyries Hebert pledges brain to CTE research

WATCH ABOVE: Montreal Alouettes’ linebacker Kyries Hebert talks about donating his brain for research purposes.

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A linebacker for the Montreal Alouettes says he’s donating his brain to The Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) research.

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Kyries Hebert, a linebacker for the Montreal Alouettes, has suffered several concussions over his long professional football career.

READ MORE: Concussions in sports: Feds announce guidelines for diagnosis, treatment

“Concussion symptoms, they were never the same. I’ve had a couple, once it was to the point where I couldn’t remember my birthday,” recalled Hebert.

“Another, I had to do the dark room, where I wasn’t allowed to be around a screen or bright lights — they would cause headaches.”

Hebert, who has been with the Als since 2012, joined Global’s Laura Casella and Kim Sullivan Tuesday to talk about concussions, CTE studies and preventative measures being implemented in contact sports.

CTE is a degenerative brain condition caused by repetitive brain traumas, like the constant hits a pro football player endures over the course of a career.

Symptoms may include but are not limited to emotional instability, problematic cognitive thinking, impulsive behaviour, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts among others.

Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed posthumously.

Over the past nine years, the Concussion Legacy Foundation has seen over 2,500 military personnel and professional athletes follow the same pledge Hebert has made.

Hebert says the the importance of having a large number of donors can enable researchers to study brains at a quicker rate.

Earlier studies have already brought awareness to the sports world. Teams and leagues have begun implementing concussion preventative measures.

“The Alouettes have done a great job of making sure we go through protocol… Rodney Sassi and Dr. Lacroix would not go away from what the plan was no matter what the team’s needs were,” said Hebert.

“They put the player first.”

Hebert says the Canadian Football League (CFL) has also begun taking steps to promote player safety.

READ MORE: Toronto doctor refutes CFL’s claim there’s not enough evidence to link concussions to CTE

Starting next season, teams will have an extra week off during the season, along with  “no-padded practices,” which results in the players being subjected to fewer hits during the season.

“Football has been good to myself, my family and the things I have been able to do in the City of Montreal,” said Hebert about his motivation.

“I want to give back to the game that has given so much to me.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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