Matt Hasselbeck, Leonard Marshall pledge brains for CTE research

Matt Hasselbeck pledged his brain to be studied by the Concussion Legacy Foundation. (AP)

We’re still learning about concussions and their long-term effects, and that process doesn’t get easier when players are still hiding concussions to stay on the field.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation announced that two former NFL stars have pledged their brains to be studied upon their deaths. Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Matt Hasselbeck and former New York GIants defensive lineman Leonard Marshall announced they’ll give their brains to support research on concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Hasselbeck played 17 seasons with four teams. His father Don played tight end for nine NFL seasons, perhaps most notably with the 1983 Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Raiders, and the release said Don Hasselbeck pledged his brain to the foundation in 2010.

Leonard Marshall (70) played in 12 NFL seasons. (AP)

“During my football career, we didn’t have enough information on the long-term effects of concussions and brain trauma,” Matt Hasselbeck said in a release. “I want to be part of the solution, and by pledging my brain I am doing my part to provide the data to protect the next generation of athletes.”

Marshall, who made one of the biggest hits in NFL history on Joe Montana in the 1990 playoffs, has dealt with many physical issues upon retirement.

“CTE is no joke and I don’t want to see anyone else suffer like me and my friends,” Marshall said in a statement. “At 55 I have short-term memory loss, erratic behavior, and experience fogginess. This is literally a life-and-death matter, and it’s time we start having real, honest conversations about brain trauma in professional and youth sports.”

There’s still no definitive answer on what connection there is between football, concussions and CTE. More research is still needed. Getting players like Hasselbeck and Marshall to pledge their brains for further study might help get us closer to the answers.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!