From Sunday Night down in Australia a story of how research on the brains of former footballers may shake up the sport;
Greg Williams is an AFL legend, and one of the hardest men ever to play the game. In his glittering 14-year career, ‘Diesel’ won a premiership, two Brownlow Medals and was named in the AFL’s Team of the Century. .
Shaun Valentine is another tough bloke: like Williams, he copped countless on field wallopings in his career in rugby league. Williams retired at 34, Valentine at just 26. Both men are now struggling with everyday life as they battle the long-term effects of so many blows to the head during their respective careers. Both men are married with children – and both are facing the biggest challenge of their lives.
In what’s been a world first study here in Australia, the results of tests on retired professional players are revealed, and they will send shockwaves through all the codes.
The video (The price of playing the game) tells the story of Williams and Valentine and gives the results of what they know to this point. Make sure you click the link above to find it. You will notice that there is no mention of CTE in the Aussie players – yet when they go to the US for the story CTE is the first thing talked about. It is understood, that currently most researchers in Australia are not ready to accept CTE as a diagnosis or even its existence in former footballers. The focus is more on dementia Down Under; regardless the troubles after playing collision sports is obvious and scary.
In related news, the Australian Football League will be kicking off its season in three weeks (I am pretty excited about this) and accompanying the pomp and circumstance is a concussion conference sponsored by the league. If you can get that way; it will be a very good conference and worth your time.
In related, related news; I will be compiling the third year of concussions in the AFL. The season is not underway but we have cataloged concussions already.