Sports Human Brain Bank

New Zealand’s first human Sports Brain Bank was launched at the Centre for Brain Research (CBR) in 2019.

The New Zealand Sports Human Brain Bank Initiative is an extension to the Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank. It will collect tissue from donors who have played contact sports like rugby, boxing, soccer, and others, whether or not they have experienced a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI), to scientifically research how head impacts in sport influence brain health and brain disease. Adding a sports injury aspect to our existing research platform is a significant step for the CBR and promises to deepen our understanding of the impact sports injuries have on the brain.

This initiative reflects a growing international focus on TBI and brain diseases associated with repeated head impacts, including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain. Internationally, the research has shown that CTE is found in the brains of those with a history of repetitive brain trauma, and most often in contact sport athletes. By looking at the brain after death, researchers will learn how brain injury can lead to brain disease. We hope those discoveries will inform new ways to prevent and treat brain diseases.

The New Zealand Sports Human Brain Bank Initiative will be a collaborator in the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) Global Brain Bank. CLF is a United States-based charity that is recruiting top scientists from around the world to study CTE.


Professor Maurice Curtis
Deputy Director, Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank
Mobile: +64 21 287 8476