'I just broke up in tears': Rugby league great calls for NRL to take action after 'horrible' CTE diagnosis
| Last updated
Rugby league legend Mark ‘Spudd’ Carroll has opened up about his ‘horrifying’ chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) diagnosis and sent out a warning to the NRL.
One of the sport’s notorious hard men, the Sea Eagles great wasn’t one to shy away from hard hits back in his playing days.
However, after revealing that doctors told him he ‘definitely’ suffers from CTE - a brain injury linked to concussions - he has called for the NRL to take action for today’s players.
While the disease can’t be officially diagnosed until after his death, the former Manly player has revealed that specialists have told him he definitely has it.
He spoke to 7News on Monday (March 20) night where he admitted he decided to take action after South Sydney great Mario Fenech opened up about his battle with dementia.
He said: “Mate, I just broke up in tears.
“I said to her, ‘am I going to die?’ It was a week after Paul Green took his life.
“It’s bloody horrible, you dish it out but you don’t want to hear the consequences.”
Carroll admitted that going in for a rough battle with the likes of ‘Chief’ Paul Harragon was a ‘badge of honour’ back in his playing days.
He added: “When we were coming through we didn’t have any protocols, we didn’t know about this.”
The former New South Wales representative revealed that at his lowest point he had contemplated ending his life.
He now wants to help others that find themselves in a similar position figure out that they’re not alone.
“It’s not a good spot,” he said.
“Knowing you want to try and get rid of yourself.
“I just want them to step forward and come out from the silence which I was in too.”
The 56-year-old believes the NRL has a ‘duty of care’ to look after legends of the game and help them understand and receive their diagnosis.
He said: “Look after players in my era and also my heroes in the era before that and the eras before that.
“$900 for a PET scan. We’re not covered with Medicare or any health fund but any player who’s living in silence where I’ve been … come out and get tested, and the league pick up the bill.”
The NRL has stepped up their concussion protocols this season with the implementation of an independent doctor who decides when a player is in need of a head injury assessment.
The new protocol has faced opposition from former players such as Paul Gallen and Gus Gould, however, with recounts such as Spudd’s it becomes increasingly important to protect the current crop of players.