Australian Rules-Hall of Famer Hunter to donate brain for concussion researchReuters | Updated: 07-03-2021 12:01 IST | Created: 07-03-2021 11:53 IST
Former Australian Rules player Ken Hunter has said he would donate his brain to science, answering a call to players for help with medical research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and other neurodegenerative diseases. A Melbourne coroner urged players to donate their brains for research after reporting last month on the death in 2019 of former Australian Rules player Danny Frawley, who was discovered to have been suffering from the concussion-related disease.
CTE, a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated concussions, can only be detected when the brain is examined after death and has been linked to mental health issues. "I've donated my brain to Australian Sports Brain Bank, mainly to support science and research," Hunter told the Sunday Age.
"I thought it was also important to know if I did have some sort of cognitive decline or whether I do get some sort of neurodegenerative disease...my family knows it could have been caused through concussion, rather than a genetic thing." Hunter, who was a standout player for Carlton in the Victorian Football League (VFL), now the Australian Football League (AFL), said he sustained at least 20 suspected concussions in his career but had experienced no long-term impact.
"I can't say I feel like I've been damaged ... where I can't function," he said. "But I do know that in my journey over the years, there are a lot of people out there suffering." Australian Rules is one of several contact sports around the world starting to deal with the long-term consequences of players receiving repeated head-knocks during their careers.
The National Football League (NFL) in the United States set up a $1 billion fund in 2016 to compensate former players who suffered brain injuries linked to repeated concussions and the AFL is reportedly in discussions to form a similarly-sized fund to requite former Australian Rules players.
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