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James Graham admits his brain is 'damaged' from rugby league

Max Sherry

| Last updated 

James Graham admits his brain is 'damaged' from rugby league

James Graham says he has undertaken neurological tests to figure out the condition of his brain following his 423-game rugby league career.

And sadly, the results are damning.

The former NRL star admits his brain has been 'damaged' as a result of 'significant' trauma from huge hits and head knocks.

A person can only be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after their death, although these latest findings with Graham have concluded that his brain has subsequently shrunk in volume.

James Graham tackles Sam Burgess in the NRL Grand Final. Credit: Supplied/NRL
James Graham tackles Sam Burgess in the NRL Grand Final. Credit: Supplied/NRL

"I thought I may have paid a price for the way I played rugby league and in my neurologist’s rooms that was proven to be true," Graham wrote in a column for The Daily Telegraph.

"It has been confirmed via an MRI scan that part of my 36-year-old brain is damaged, that is ‘down on volume’ at the front and side part of my brain.

"While the neuropsychological tests I passed quite well an MRI showed the possible wear and tear of 17 years of rugby league, over 400 games and around 100 concussions.

"As my neurologist Dr Rowena Mobbs explained, my frontal lobe [the front] and the parietal (the side part behind the frontal lobe) on the right side of my brain were all down on volume for a man my age. 'Mildly so' Dr Mobbs tells me, but enough to say it's 'significant'.

"There was also an irregularity in the middle area of my brain - what is called the white matter - white spots are showing up particularly on the left side. The white matter part of the brain is for transmission, it's like a freeway. These 'white spots', or lesions, indicate tiny areas of signal change - migraines can cause these but so can 'head trauma'."

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Graham also claimed he had over 100 concussions throughout his career.

But the one during the 2018 NRL finals is one that stands out for the Englishman.

"After that concussion I couldn't drive, I didn't feel like myself, I suffered debilitating headaches, was extremely sensitive to noise and I was so concerned about the state of my brain that I went and had that MRI scan," Graham said.

He added: "For someone my age, my brain should not be losing volume like this. I knew it anyway, but I need to take care of my brain health.

"I am not looking for anyone's sympathy, I have repeatedly said maybe the meaning of life is finding something worth dying for and rugby league was this for me.

"I have to take responsibility for the way I lived and played."

Featured Image Credit: Supplied/NRL

Topics: Australia, NRL, Rugby League

Max Sherry
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