Bears' Hillenmeyer Pledges to Donate Brain to Research

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Byline: Associated Press

BOSTON -- Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes and Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer are among more than a dozen NFL players who have pledged to donate their brain and spinal-cord tissue for concussion research.

Retired players Zach Thomas, Kyle Turley and Conrad Dobler also have said they'll help the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine.

The wife of Hall of Famer John Mackey pledged to donate his brain after his death. Mackey has dementia.

In December, the NFL and its players association said they would support the center's research and encourage players to participate. The NFL said it was willing to give $1 million or more to the center.

NFL players Sean Morey of the Arizona Cardinals, Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens and Lofa Tatupu of the Seattle Seahawks earlier had agreed to donate their brains for research.

"The only way we will truly understand the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma in football is to study a large group of athletes throughout their lives and then examine their brains following death," said Dr. …