How the lives of ex-sportsmen and women have been affected by concussion

“Lots of anxiety, lots of depression. My eyes and my brain started burning when I looked at the phone screen.”

BBC Radio 5 Live has been talking to former sportsmen and women and their households about how concussion has modified their lives.

It follows an MPs’ inquiry that stated sports activities our bodies are “marking their own homework” with regards to lowering concussion in sport.

The inquiry, carried out by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport choose committee of MPs, says pressing motion is required by authorities and sporting our bodies to deal with a long-term failure to cut back the dangers of mind damage in sport.

This is what former sportspeople say…

‘Save gamers from themselves’

Rugby league participant Stevie Ward, aged 27, had simply been named Leeds Rhinos captain when his head was crushed in a pre-season pleasant.

Two weeks later, he took one other knock to the head which resulted in stitches in his face.

“After that, it was a horror show really,” he stated. “Lots of anxiety, lots of depression. My eyes and my brain started burning when I looked at the phone screen.

“That was the forbearer for the place I’m now, 18 months down the line. Still scuffling with migraines, nonetheless scuffling with automotive illness and sensitivity to screens and mild, warmth.

“I’ve retired, stopped playing and I’m just trying to make ends meet and transition into a new life.”

Ward advised 5 Live’s Nicky Campbell that rugby gamers thrive off hazard and dangers, so the tradition in touch sports activities wants to vary to “save players from themselves”.

“Because we want to play a tough, physical, demanding game, there’s even more need for having doctors there, specialist and medical officers that save you,” he added.

Stevie’s companion Natalie Alleston stated their life had been utterly modified by these two video games and they may now not make long-term plans.

“We can try and put things in place… everything’s subject to change depending on how symptoms present themselves that day.”

‘You’re sliding headfirst on ice at speeds of as much as 80 mph’

Eleanor Furneaux says head accidents are ‘a given’ with skeleton

Eleanor Furneaux is a former GB skeleton athlete who was pressured to retire at 24, after hitting her head.

In January 2018, whereas coaching for a race in Germany, a minor accident was adopted by one other, extra severe crash the subsequent day.

Furneaux stated she at all times knew the dangers related to the sport and it was not the first time she had skilled concussion.

“With skeleton, it’s a given. You’re sliding headfirst on ice at speeds of up to 80 mph,” she stated.

“It’s one of those unwritten rules that you could hit your head at any point.”

She gave proof to the committee, stating a scarcity of consciousness and understanding in sport of concussion.

She stated the downside is athletes are so determined to compete, they’ll say they’re high-quality when they don’t seem to be.

“You will do anything you can to compete. You might hit your head and if it’s down to you, then you will say you’re fine… as long as it’s not too bad.”

Competitors additionally learn to cheat the system.

“You do head injury assessments but the more you do them, the more you start to learn them,” Furneaux added.

“You know the questions that are coming and you have to do them day in day out… I think there needs to be something like mixing up the questions so you can’t just memorise the questions.”

‘I could not bear in mind matches’

Former rugby player Lenny Woodard has early onset dementia
Former rugby participant Lenny Woodard has early onset dementia

Lenny Woodard is a former skilled rugby participant who has represented Wales in each union and league. A number of weeks in the past, he was identified with early onset dementia.

“It did explain the way I’d been feeling in the last five to 10 years,” he stated.

“I could recall matches from when I was a child but I couldn’t remember matches I’d played in the last 10 years.

“Mid-sentence and mid-paragraph typically, I’d neglect the place I used to be.

“I’ve left the cooker on and burnt food and set the smoke alarms off a few times.

“I knew there was one thing amiss.”

During his playing days, Woodard was hospitalised for concussion a couple of times including once when he was 16 and knocked out cold.

“I absolutely understood and accepted the bodily dangers of it…I definitely did not envisage I’d have early onset dementia in my mid-40s.”

Woodard told 5 Live’s Adrian Chiles the responsibility for change lies with lots of people within rugby.

“There’s a tradition in rugby to be the macho man, to remain on the area while you’ve been harm. I believe that should change,” he stated,

“I believe there is a duty of gamers themselves, of dad and mom watching their kids play, not shouting issues like ‘kill him’ and encouraging huge violence.

“I think there’s an onus on the medical staff to overrule the player because the player will want to stay on. Especially if there’s a financial incentive.”

Woodard stated he welcomed the findings of the report.

“What I want to see now is action,” he stated.

‘This is the first time that it is been acknowledged’

Monica Petrosino hopes concussion report will lead to 'good outcomes'
Monica Petrosino hopes concussion report will result in ‘good outcomes’

Monica Petrosino is a former Team GB ice hockey participant who needed to retire at the age of 24 after hitting her head on the ice.

She stated concussion was by no means mentioned in her early years in the sport.

“It was literally at my last World Championships in 2019 the first time there was people there that had information on concussion and were doing tests pre and post-game to track your levels,”she stated.

She stated she hopes the report will result in “good outcomes”.

“This is the first time that it’s been acknowledged and acknowledgement is the first step of change,” she stated.

‘We thought Bill was indestructible’

Judith Gates with her husband and former footballer Bill who has dementia
Judith Gates along with her husband and former footballer Bill who has dementia

Bill Gates performed soccer for Middlesbrough in the 1970s, and had a profession spanning over 30 years.

During his profession, he would head the ball dozens of instances a day. In latest years he has been scuffling with dementia.

His spouse Judith has since helped arrange the charity Head For Change, which goals to lift consciousness about mind well being in sport, and helps ex-players who’re affected by neurodegenerative illness consequently of sports-related head accidents.

She advised 5 Live’s Mobeen Azhar she was happy that folks “at the highest level” have been now speaking about the potential risks of sports-related accidents however progress was nonetheless sluggish.

“The phrase ‘man up’ in Bill’s day would have been the cultural norm. I think it’s somewhat optimistic to think that cultural norm is significantly shifting – I think there is still a long way to go.

“One of the challenges for soccer is that usually these outcomes which might be a outcome of sports-related head accidents do not manifest themselves till 20 or 30 years after enjoying, so you then’ve obtained the delayed outcomes which feed the notion that ‘nothing will actually harm me and the ‘man-up’ views linger on.

“What I’d be saying to younger players is please take this head injury issue seriously, because we thought Bill was indestructible and we have learnt that he isn’t.”

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