Former Red Wings/Blackhawks enforcer Bob Probert passed away last summer at the age of 45, and while the cause of death was deemed to be heart failure, the New York Times’ Allan Schwarz — a tireless chronicler of concussion-related issues regarding pro football — reports the NHL vet’s “legacy could soon be rooted as much in his head as his hands.”

After examining Probert’s brain tissue, researchers at Boston University said this week that they found the same degenerative disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, whose presence in more than 20 deceased professional football players has prompted the National Football League to change some rules and policies in an effort to limit dangerous head impacts.

Dani Probert said that her husband was aware of growing concern about C.T.E. among athletes in contact sports, and that they had discussed it soon before he died after a “60 Minutes” feature on the subject.

“I remember joking with him, ‘Wouldn’t your brain make a nice specimen?’ ” she said. “He started questioning whether he would have it himself. He told me that he wanted to donate his brain to the research when he died. Who would have thought that six months later it would be happening?”