Former WWE Superstar Kevin Nash will donate his brain and spinal cord to the CTE Center at Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation after his death, he told ESPN.com's Michael Rothstein on Wednesday.
"Chris Nowinski started the program, and I've had several concussions throughout my life and had scans done and stuff and knew that somewhere down the line, I've already had short-term memory problems," Nash said. "I decided to go ahead. The only way you can diagnose this is after you're dead."
The center, founded by former WWE Superstar Chris Nowinski and Dr. Robert Cantu, is at the forefront of research on repetitive head injuries. Its researchers have identified dozens of deceased former NFL players and former sports entertainers as having suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
CTE is a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to repeated head trauma. Boston University highlights "memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse-control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia" as CTE's main symptoms.
Nowinski complimented Nash on his bravery, per Rothstein:
It's so powerful when icons like Kevin Nash are willing to pledge their brain for research and talk about it publicly. Brain donation is really driving our growing knowledge of CTE and the long-term effects of brain trauma. And so I'm hoping that we solve this problem before Kevin's time comes, but Kevin announcing this means that other families are aware that this research is important and that if they lose somebody, they may think of the concussion legacy foundation. [sic]
Nash, 56, spent nearly a quarter-century in professional wrestling, performing for every major promotion in the United States. He worked under his real name and as Diesel in WWE and was an integral part of the NWO faction in WCW. His and Scott Hall's defection was seen by many as one of WCW's first power moves in the "Monday Night Wars."
Nash later performed in TNA, where he was among the promotion's biggest stars during the height of its popularity. WWE inducted Nash into its Hall of Fame in 2015.