Joe "the Jet" Perry and John Henry Johnson, Pro Football Hall of Famers and two members of the 49ers' "Million Dollar Backfield" who died this year, will have their brains examined by researchers at Boston University, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.
Perry, 84, died in April, and Johnson died June 3 at age 81. Their families agreed to let the players' brains be examined by the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, according to the Chronicle.
CSTE has been researching brains of athletes to address the long-term consequences of concussions in sports. Former Bears safety Dave Duerson committed suicide in February and asked that his brain be examined. Researchers determined he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The NFL donated $1 million to CTSE for their research.
"When Joe was playing, they'd give them smelling salts and put them back in," Donna Perry, Joe's widow, told the Chronicle. "Now the equipment is better, and they're looking into ways to protect them. We have to look at what this is doing to our children."