The risks to brain health associated with playing contact sport was the theme of an insightful seminar hosted by Rugby League Cares in association with the sport’s governing body, Rugby Football League.
Chaired by Kevin Sinfield MBE, the former Leeds Rhinos and England captain, the online seminar examined the evidence linking conditions and diseases like motor neurone disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s to head trauma suffered by players during their careers.
The keynote speakers were Professor Craig Ritchie, Professor of the Psychiatry of Ageing at the University of Edinburgh, and Director of the Centre for Dementia Prevention, and Professor Willie Stewart, who leads the Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group, based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, and specialises in traumatic brain injury, with a focus on links to contact sport.
The two academics touched upon the findings of a dementia prevention study funded by the Alzheimers Society which is examining the whether elite rugby players show more early warning signs of dementia than the general population.
Attendees included current and former players, RFL and club administrators and RL Cares staff.
For more information about dementia, including details of how to take part in a national study into the condition, please click here
If you are a current or former player and need to speak in confidence to someone about brain health please contact RL Cares Transition Manager Francis Stephenson, firstname.lastname@example.org