An initiative led by the National Hockey League Players' Association has garnered $3.125 million in concussion research at Western.
It is the completion of a six-year effort to build on a $500,000 gift from the organization through community donation; the final $3 million figure was a long-held target to fund research into better understanding the symptoms and biomarkers of concussions.
The donation was announced on Aug. 17 at an event attended by Western University officials and former NHL star Eric Lindros, a concussion victim and prominent advocate for research into the condition.
On Western's campus, concussion research takes place at departments ranging from kinesiology, psychology and medicine. But the funding has three recipients between the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Robarts Research Institute: Dean Michael Strong of Schulich, Arthur Brown and Greg Dekaban.
Brown said Western partnered with the NHLPA because of their program's visibility.
"We were chosen because Western was doing something really good: it was going out and engaging the public," he said. "Eric Lindros happened to be in the audience when I was giving one of my talks, and he was sort of captivated by the promise that maybe there's something we can do."
Brown went on to speak to the NHLPA with Lindros at his side before securing the funding.
Lindros was born in London, and he has a long relationship with the city. The Hockey Hall of Fame inductee donated $5 million to the London Health Sciences Centre in 2007 and was a speaker at Western's 2018 commencement addresses. He also advocated for the development of Rowan's Law, an Ontario statute which regulates amateur sports to prevent concussions.
The donation is a part of the larger See the Line campaign, now entering its tenth year, of which Lindros is the honourary chairperson.
The campaign's donation is set to fund five years of Brown's research through paying for researcher's salaries and their materials. Much of his upcoming research has been planned specifically for this funding.
Brown said his goals are to better understand concussions, and hopefully, to identify the specific ways to treat the condition. Throughout his research, Brown will be developing antibodies to reduce inflammation and addressing a form of dementia that often develops after being concussed.
Update (1:09 p.m., August 23rd): the article's headline was updated to accurately reflect that this donation came from the National Hockey League Players' Association.