Steve Thompson to donate brain for chronic traumatic encephalopathy research

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Steve Thompson was present in all games of England's 2003 World Cup win, but he cannot recall any.

Steve Thompson, a Rugby World Cup winner, was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 42. He will donate his brain for scientists studying brain trauma.

Thompson, 43, an Englishman is among a group of ex-players who are suing Rugby's governing bodies.

The Concussion Legacy Project will use his brain for research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) which can only be diagnosed after the death of the patient.

Thompson stated that he was offering his brain to "make the game safer".

He said, "I'm pledging to my brain so that the children of those I love don’t have to experience what I went through."

"It is up to my generation that I pledge my brains for researchers to develop better treatments and ways of making the game safer."

The Concussion Legacy Project, a brain bank created by the Concussion Legacy Foundation UK and the Jeff Astle Foundation is named after Astle, a former striker for England and West Brom. In 2014, Astle died from CTE after a reexamination of his brain.

Dawn, Astle's child, said that although it may take many years for this puzzle to be complete, by adding each piece one at a while, we will be able understand the whole picture and be able make better decisions for the future.

Thompson: "It didn’t take long for me to decide"

Thompson, 2003 winner: "I can't recall England games at World Cup,"

Thompson was present in all matches of England's 2003 World Cup winning campaign. However, he told BBC in December 2020 that his memory is not good. He blamed the memory loss on frequent head knocks during training and games.

World Rugby released a six-point player welfare program in July. It also includes support for ex-players. On Wednesday, the global governing body announced guidelines that limit full-contact training to fifteen minutes per week to prevent injuries.

Thompson addressed the issue and called for contact to be removed from the game for children. He added that while we are moving in the right direction, there is still much to do to ensure safety for the players.

Thompson was a former hooker who played 195 games for Northampton Saints, before moving to France to join Brive. In a nine-year career, he won 73 England caps and three for the British Lions.

After sustaining a neck injury in 2007, he was forced to retire. He was then given the all clear to return to work in December 2011.

Thompson was diagnosed at King's College in London with early-onset dementia.

Thompson said that it didn't take Thompson and Steph long to decide to donate their brains.

He explained, "When I got the diagnosis, I was all over and my family was all around me."

"I met Dawn [executive director at CLF UK] Dr Adam White, and they set everything in motion.

"They made it feel like I wasn’t the only one." It was just a matter of whose hands you place that brain in when it came down to it.

"We want to end CTE by 2040"

Dr Gabriele DeLuca will be the leader of the new brain bank. He said that brain donation would allow for "developing tailored interventions and treatment" to avoid the "devastating effects" of CTE.

CTE is a condition that causes problems in thinking, memory and mood. Researchers are trying to find a way to treat it.

CLF UK's executive director, Dr Adam White, stated that the organization aims to "stop all new cases" of CTE within five years and find a cure before 2040.

CLF UK encourages athletes and veterans from the military to donate their brains for CTE research.

What is CTE?

CTE was the brain disease that Dr Bennet Omalu discovered in Mike Webster, an American football player. It is also the subject of the movie Concussion starring Will Smith. A group of ex-American football players filed a class action against NFL in 2011 and received a settlement amounting to $1bn.

CTE is a condition in which the brain is exposed to many small blows or rapid movements. Sometimes known as sub-concussions, it can lead to memory loss, depression, and progressive dementia.

Sub-concussions can't be detected on the pitch, or in any post-match examination.

Although the disease cannot be diagnosed in the brain until after death, experts believe that if there is evidence of past exposure, the likelihood of developing it will increase.

It was found in the brains and bodies of several former NFL players as well as some deceased footballers.

Here are more details about dementia and information on organizations that can assist you.