Aussies Study Concussions in Former Collision Sport Athletes

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.



One thought on “Aussies Study Concussions in Former Collision Sport Athletes

  1. joe bloggs February 26, 2013 / 10:11

    There is an interesting juxtaposition between Australia and the US managing professional sports health.

    First, for those advocating the removal of helmets and equipment in total, one can see clear evidence of the type results likely in Aussie Footy. Second, the Australians are much more upfront on the use of PEDs. Its government takes seriously the use of PIEDs/PEDs and gets on with the damage it is doing – see In the US, players grow to inhuman size but that is fobbed off based on training and nutrition (sure god makes adjustments for US footballers). Of course, players can will themselves to recover from injuries by superior medical techniques offered only in the NFL – see Adrian Petersen and Ray Lewis to name a couple of highly unusual cases (Deer Antlers sure are powerful). The union simply wishes to defer, delay and deny as long as possible so it can protect the cheats and encourage children to ingest this garbage.

    The Aussies have not been sold on CTE because it is a specific limiting diagnosis. Interestingly, the Aussies do admit brain damage is caused by concussion where the US docs refuse to state it because it could scare people into not buying season tickets. SLI/BU will come around to it as the evidence is too clear.

    Since the NFL and its union, the NCAA, and the Department of Defense and various interested parties are driven by litigation management; one only sees phoney studies with endless time horizons. See the NCAA study that did not seem to get off the ground and NFLPA Harvard study that will deliver, according to NFLPA President Domonique Foxowrth, results some time around 2020. Oh and Dr. Nadler of Harvard sees no reason to change the sport. Why would he, football is paying for his lab.

    So international researchers will lead the way and the hype machine in the US will continue to lose its credibility. Thankfully sport is international and some countries are actually interested in the health of not only the professionals but also the children looking up to their heroes.

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