Rugby World Cup winner Steve Thompson exposes he has dementia and

Steve Thompson, who won the Rugby World Cup with England in 2003, has been diagnosed with early start dementia and is signing up with a group of former players in a potentially landmark legal action for the sport.

The 8 former players, who are all under the age of 45, are proposing to bring legal procedures against World Rugby– the video game’s governing body– the Rugby Football Union in England and the Welsh Rugby Union over what they declare is their failure to protect them from the risks triggered by concussions.

Thompson, 42, stated he can not remember winning the World Cup, would not want his own kids to play the game “the method it is at the minute” and that he is sorry for ever taking it up himself.

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All the players have gotten the exact same medical diagnosis– dementia with possible chronic distressing encephalopathy (CTE), for which the only recognized cause is duplicated blows to the head. CTE can be diagnosed for specific just by a post-mortem dissection of the brain.

Richard Boardman of Rylands Law, representing the players, declares there is a “ticking timebomb” of players who are establishing symptoms as they reach their 40s and 50s. They anticipate the very first 8 players are the test cases in a possible group litigation order. 3 others have actually been identified with likely CTE but are not yet registered. Boardman is already in touch with more than 100 players from union and league who are reporting symptoms, a figure that has actually gradually grown in recent months.

If effective, the case could have extensive repercussions for the future of rugby union and possibly other sports such as rugby league and football, which is handling its own debate over the links between heading the ball and dementia.

Thompson, capped 73 times for England and three times by the British & Irish Lions, belonged to the popular England XV who notoriously won the World Cup in Australia in 2003 thanks to a Jonny Wilkinson drop goal in extra-time. Thompson was awarded an MBE together with other members of the group. His position, as hooker in the front row of the scrum, is among the most punishing in the sport.

In a revealing and at times harrowing interview with the Guardian, Thompson stated he has anxiety attack and is susceptible to state of mind swings. He is far less friendly than he used to be, his memory frequently fails him and he is in some cases unable to bear in mind the name of his other half.

” You see us lifting the World Cup and I can see me there leaping around. However I can’t remember it,” Thompson said. “I ‘d rather have just had a regular life. I’m just normal. Some people go for the huge lights, whereas I never ever desired that. Would I do it once again? No, I wouldn’t. I can’t remember it. I’ve got no sensations about it.”

The other gamers include Alix Popham, 41, capped 33 times for Wales as a flanker or No 8, and Michael Lipman, 40, who played 10 times for England as a flanker and now lives in Australia.

They are part of the very first generation to have actually played an entire profession of full-time rugby union, after the game turned expert in the mid-1990s. Their claim is that the governing bodies have actually stopped working in their task of care, having not acted on the recognized risks of head injury, especially after professionalism led to a clear climax in the sport’s characteristics.

In May 2011, 4 months after the death of the schoolboy Ben Robinson, World Rugby decreased the minimum go back to play after a concussion from three weeks to six days, unwinding a policy that had stood considering that 1977.

The gamers will seek settlement for the effects they are suffering, the impact on their employment potential customers and the expense of care they and their households will likely incur in the years to come. They are likewise presenting a list of steps to alter the game which they call their “15 rules”, which resolve their most pressing concerns, consisting of a limit to the quantity of contact in training, a reduction in tactical alternatives and numerous procedures designed to enhance the detection of brain injury and the care of those affected.

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A spokesperson for World Rugby stated: “While not commenting on speculation, World Rugby takes gamer safety very seriously and carries out injury-prevention, management and education strategies based on the latest offered knowledge, research and evidence.”

These are worrying times for sports all over the world. In football, the heightened rate of dementia amongst England’s other World Cup winners, the team of 1966, has actually given attention the dangers of heading the ball. Nobby Stiles and Jack Charlton died this year with dementia, considering that when the family of Jack’s sibling Sir Bobby have announced the very same diagnosis. Rugby’s legal action appears to echo that in American football. The NFL agreed in 2013 to pay damages to its former gamers, expected to total up to more than $1bn (₤ 754m).

The diagnoses have been come to by a neurologist and a neuropsychologist through examination of the gamers’ signs of cognitive decline, in combination with the detection through diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of brain damage constant with these symptoms.

Another of the 15 rules is to utilize this technology to institute constant baseline evaluations of gamers’ brains. A DTI scan is a more sophisticated type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that can pick up tiny changes in the brain, which the standard MRI can not. By using this technology, players may be issued with a kind of MOT through which they can obtain the licence to play.

” When you play in France, you have a heart scan at the start of each season to get your license,” said Thompson. “Why in the world are you not getting scans on your brain every year? Lads are going to be 22 or 23 and they’re going to have to retire. However trust me, it’s much better ending up then than to be where I am now.”

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