World Rugby has reportedly now told players that head impacts and concussions aren’t the only factors known to contribute to the early onset of dementia. The organisation allegedly said this week other factors include the excessive use of alcohol, depression, and unhealthy eating habits.
The statement comes after concerns over player welfare prompted a legal case against World Rugby, the Welsh Rugby Union, and the Rugby Football Union. It also forms part of a campaign recently launched at the World Rugby medical commission conference, which aims to educate players concerned about their well-being. Support is also being offered via consultations with brain health experts and clinical assessors.
The complication in proving the actual cause of dementia within the context of the game is that mostly the root of any degenerative brain condition can only be proved exclusively by means of a post-mortem.
According to Professor Willie Stewart, who is a consultant neuropathologist at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, what World Rugby is doing right now is exceptionally important work. He said the effort will benefit not only rugby as a global game, but also all sorts of sport in general.
Stewart also added that it remains important that the state of health of former players isn’t overlooked in the process of working out the best way forward.
Among those that have now instituted legal action against rugby’s governing bodies count former hooker Steve Thompson and flanker Alix Popham. The group is being represented by lawyer Richard Boardman of Rylands Law.
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