21 February 2020

Retiring hockey player Alex Danson-Bennett says she will donate her brain to science

Retiring hockey player Alex Danson-Bennett has said she will donate her brain to science so further research can be conducted into brain injuries.

She suffered a brain injury in 2018 which has added to her decision to retire from the sport at the age of 34.

She has said the long-term affects of her playing a physical sport won't be known until she donates her brain.

“I played a physical game and never really had any problems. I’ve only ever had one head injury in hockey – the other three were outside. It’s sportspeople and it’s general life. The problem with the brain is that you can’t access it until we are not around. I absolutely would [donate it].

“I’m lucky – I will get well but it has made me view things differently. I believe mild traumatic brain injuries and concussions can be rehabbed. One thing really missing is designated facilities where people can recover,” she told The Telegraph.

Danson-Bennett returned to hockey for a few games in the FIH Pro League this year and she told her Great Britain team-mates on Wednesday about her retirement.

“Inside I was, ‘am I going to be able to do this?’ I think people knew as soon as one of the staff said, ‘Alex has got something she wants to share'. 

“I probably blubbed before I could say too much. It was very emotional. I felt like I was also talking to every player I ever played with.  

“Although it has not finished in the way I hoped, coming back allowed me to have closure and say goodbye in my own way. I have zero regrets. If you don’t try, you never know. It was my time to say, ‘thank-you and goodbye'."

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