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Boston University researchers studying brain of dead NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard

Researchers at Boston University are studying the brain of deceased NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard to determine whether he suffered from a degenerative brain condition associated with repeated hits to the head.

Dr. Robert Cantu, a neurosurgeon and co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University's School of Medicine, confirms Boogaard's family donated his brain. Cantu leads a research team studying the long-term effects of head trauma in sports.

Boogaard, whose results won't be released without his family's approval, is one of three NHL enforcers found dead since May.

The 28-year-old former New York Ranger died in May due to an accidental mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone. Winnipeg's Rick Rypien, 27, was discovered in August at his home in Coleman, Alta., after a police official said a call was answered for a "sudden and non-suspicious" death. And 35-year-old Wade Belak, who played with five NHL teams before retiring in March, was found dead Wednesday in Toronto.

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