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‘Sometimes the damage you don’t see has the biggest impact’

Rugby league player David* made more than 100 first-grade appearances, for two clubs, during a professional career that spanned the 1970s. David, who is now in his late 60s, suffered several concussions, which it is felt contributed to a rapid decline in cognitive function. David’s family plans to join a class action against rugby league powerbrokers over their failure to properly manage head knocks. This is David’s story, as told by a family member.

*Not his real name

David is a family man who has been married for 36 years and was, until recent years, a fun-loving man who enjoyed life, telling stories and talking to people. In his working life, David always worked and held down responsible positions.

But his life has taken a gradual turn for the worse and he is no longer that fun-loving man. David became forgetful, which was not initially a concern for his family. However, we became concerned when his personality clearly started to change. David became withdrawn, confused, paranoid and antisocial.

Four and a half years ago, we sought medical intervention and David was diagnosed with what the specialists considered to be Alzheimer’s, which is a form of dementia. As a result, David was placed on medication to manage his condition.

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