Buffalo, N.Y. - A new study by the University of Buffalo islooking at brain damage in former athletes with a goal of slowing or halting the progression of serious side effects.
Former Sabre Andrew Peters made his living with his fists, and often his head paid the price.
Now Peters is going to take part in the UB Study, which will be the first of its kind to include hockey players as well as former football players.
Andrew Peters:"There are a lot of similarities (with football) especially with the speed, contact, now finding out that you don't need to have a direct headshot to sustain a concussion, there's obviously flags are going up everywhere."
The UB study will use advanced MRIs and other tools to detect early onset dementia and possibly CTE caused by repeated blows to the head that can lead to changes in personality, memory problems, and depression.
The goal is to help treat players by slowing down or stopping the progression of the disease.
Dr. John Leddy, UB Concussion Clinic:"If they have certain problems with concentration or memory, there are ways you can help a person who's having those problems now, if they have emotional problems there are resources to help them with that or the families. There may be interventions that will help them in the here and now to prevent them from getting worse."
The UB project is based on a groundbreaking study at Boston University that has diagnosed a number of former NFL players with CTE after their deaths, among them West Seneca's Justin Strzelczyk who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and died in an accident while driving the wrong way on the Thruway, he was just 36 years old.
Again, the UB study will include not only NFL players but formerNHL players like Andrew Peters as well.
Barry Willer, UB Professor of Psychiatry:"With the NHL players they've been particularly interested in participating because there's nothing else available to them and again they've heard the same messages that the NFL players did - that maybe playing the sport was causing you more harm than you thought."
Currently the UB study has 12 former athletes, they're looking to get 30 former players to participate.