Kathie Lee Gifford donating late husband Frank's brain to science

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Kathie Lee Gifford Is Donating Late Husband Frank's Brain to Science

Kathie Lee Gifford and the children of her late husband, Frank, say they were always suspicious that he was suffering from the debilitating effects of head trauma after 12 years on the playing field.

Read: Hoda Kotb Cries on Air as She Remembers Kathie Lee Gifford's Husband, Frank

Now, they are donating the NFL Hall of Famer's brain to science.

The Gifford family says in a statement released Thanksgiving Eve: "We made the difficult decision to have his brain studied in hopes of contributing to the advancement of medical research concerning the link between football and traumatic brain injury."

For more on Frank Gifford, scroll through the gallery below:

18 PHOTOS
Frank Gifford passes away at 84
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Kathie Lee Gifford donating late husband Frank's brain to science
American professional football player Frank Gifford, running back for the New York Giants, stands outdoors dressed in his uniform with one hand on his hip and holds his helmet, 1950s or 1960s. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 28: Runningback Frank Gifford #16, of the New York Giants, cuts back into a break in the line during the NFL Championship Game on December 28, 1958 against the Baltimore Colts at Yankee Stadium in New York City, New York. Steve Myhra of the Colts tied the score with a 20-yard field goal with 7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Alan Ameche scored for the Colts in overtime as they defeated the Giants, 23-17, in front of 64,185 fans. This was the first overtime game in NFL history. (Photo by Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 29: (L to R) Runningback Alex Webster, quarterback Charlie Conerly, runningback Mel Triplett and runningback Frank Gifford, of the New York Giants, pose together in the clubhouse prior to the NFL Championship Game on December 29, 1956 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
American professional football players Frank Gifford #16 (left) and Alex Webster #29 of the New York Giants at a practice game or training camp, late 1950s. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 30: (L to R) Runningback Frank Gifford #16, of the New York Giants, gets a hug from quarterback Charlie Conerly #42 in the clubhouse after the NFL Championship Game on December 30, 1956 against the Chicago Bears at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. One of the two touchdown passes Conerly threw was to Gifford. The Giants beat the Bears, 47-7. (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29, 1959: Offensive lineman Jack Stroud #66 of the New York Giants leads the blocking for runningback Frank Gifford #16 (obscured behind Stroud) on a running play during a game on November 29, 1959 against the Washington Redskins at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. The Giants quarterback is Charlie Conerly #42. 591129-126 (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 09: 1956 NFL Pro Bowl Football Game - East vs. West at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. East Team coached by Washington Redskins Joe Kuharich. West Team coach is Los Angeles Rams Sid Gillman. Pictured is East Team player, a young Frank Gifford of the New York Giants, #16, Halfback. NFL's regular season MVP in 1956. Broadcaster, commentator for NFL games on CBS Television and later ABC's Monday Night Football with Howard Cosell and Don Meredith. Married to Kathie Lee Gifford. (Photo by Al Paloczy/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1960: Frank Gifford #16 of the New York Giants runs on to the field during an NFL football game at Yankee Stadium circa 1960 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Gifford played for the Giants from 1952-64. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1962-64: Del Shofner #85 and Frank Gifford #16 of the New York Giants sit on the bench during a game, circa 1962-64. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
JAN 30 1970, FEB 1 1970; Mc Collum-Law Hosts a Star; The McCollum-Law Corp., Denver regional distributor for Westinghouse Corp., was host Friday at the Hilton Hotel to Frank Gifford, all-time football great. Gifford, all America back from USC in 1951, told his audience of sports, business, civic and political leaders that 'times have changed.' He recalled he was No. 1 draft choice in the National Football League in 1951 and 'got $3,800 and a motor bike.' He said O.J. Simpson, last year's No. 1 draft choice 'got contracts worth about $750,000 and a big car.' Gifford, after a decade with the New York Giants, is a CBS-TV sportscaster and Westinghouse TV spokesman. From left, W.S.Law, Gifford and Robert McCollum.; Gifford, Frank 5p; W.s.'Bing' Law frank Gifford Robert S. McCollum; (Photo By Bill Peters/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27: ABC analyst and Hall of Famer Frank Gifford looks on before Super Bowl XXV with the New York Giants against the Buffalo Bills at Tampa, Florida on January 27, 1991 in Pasadena, California. The Cowboys won 20-19. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL - 10/11/71 ABC sportscasters Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford at the N.Y. Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys game, won by the Cowboys 20-13. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) HOWARD COSELL, DON MEREDITH, FRANK GIFFORD
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 03: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Hall of Famer Frank Gifford is introduced during a halftime ceremony of a game between the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts on November 3, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Colts defeated the Giants 40-24. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL - 11/3/14 - Michael Strahan was celebrated at Met Life Stadium as he received his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring. The 2014 inductee was joined by fellow Giants Hall of Famers Frank Gifford, Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor in a ceremony at halftime of the Giants game against the Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) FRANK GIFFORD, MICHAEL STRAHAN
NBC NEWS EVENTS -- Hoda Kotb Book Launch Party -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford celebrate the launch of Hoda's book +ÆHow I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee' with a reception at the townhouse of Donny Deutsch on October 11 in New York City (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Frank Gifford and Regis Philbin appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 03: Former New York Giants player Frank Gifford looks on at halftime as he gets inducted in the New York Giants ring of fame in a game against the Chicago Bears on October 3, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The Giants defeated the Bears 17 to 3. (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)
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A team of pathologists recently confirmed that Frank had a degenerative brain disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

Frank died at age 84 last August in his Connecticut home from natural causes.

Read: Frank Gifford's Daughter Pays Tribute to Her Famous Father: 'I Lost My Best Friend'

"We decided to disclose our loved one's condition to honor Frank's legacy of promoting player safety dating back to his involvement in the formation of the NFL Players Association in the 1950s," the family said in the statement.

They also continued: "His entire adult life Frank was a champion for others, but especially for those without the means or platform to have their voices heard. He was a man who loved the National Football League until the day he passed, and one who recognized that it was—and will continue to be—the players who elevated this sport to its singular stature in American society."

To see more photos for Kathie Lee Gifford, scroll through the gallery below:

7 PHOTOS
Kathie Lee Gifford and family
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Kathie Lee Gifford donating late husband Frank's brain to science
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Cassidy Gifford and Kathie Lee Gifford attends the 'Scandalous' Broadway Opening Night at Neil Simon Theatre on November 15, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
273047 12: Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford sit with their children at the dedication of Cassidy's Place June 10, 1996 in New York City. The Association to Benefit Children created Cassidy's Place, which is a therapeutic day nursery for one hundred underprivileged children who suffer from serious medical conditions. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Liaison)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 6: (U.S. TABS AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford and daughter Cassidy arrive at the opening night of her new musical 'Under The Bridge' on January 6, 2005 at The Zipper Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
273047 09: Kathie Lee Gifford sits with her daughter at the dedication of Cassidy's Place June 10, 1996 in New York City. The Association to Benefit Children created Cassidy's Place, which is a therapeutic day nursery for one hundred underprivileged children who suffer from serious medical conditions. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Liaison)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Kathie Lee Gifford (L) and Hoda Kotb attend CAA Foundation's School Day event benefiting donorschoose.org at The Palm One on September 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for CAA)
273047 07: Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford sit with their children at the dedication of Cassidy's Place June 10, 1996 in New York City. The Association to Benefit Children created Cassidy's Place, which is a therapeutic day nursery for one hundred underprivileged children who suffer from serious medical conditions. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Liaison)
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