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Steve Thompson fronts dementia documentary

Steve Thompson

Steve Thompson fronts a new BBC dementia documentary next week after being diagnosed with possible chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 2020 at the age of 44.

The former England hooker player and father of four cannot remember key moments of his past, including the time he received an MBE by the late Queen for being named one of the best players in the world at the Rugby World Cup in 2003 when he took his team to victory over Australia.

In Head On: Rugby, Dementia and Me Thompson asks former rugby players if they think there are enough procedures in place to stop life-changing brain injuries on the field.

Thompson said: “I won the Rugby World Cup for my country and loved everything about the game but years of impact have damaged my brain. As I struggle to come to terms with what the future holds and what the sport I love has done to me and my young family, I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to those still in the game.”

Thompson is part of a group of 182 rugby players, who have been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, filing a legal case against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union saying the sport’s governing bodies have failed to take reasonable measures protecting players from  permanent injury caused by repetitive concussive and sub-concussive blows on the field.

Head On: Rugby, Dementia and Me is on BBC One, Wednesday 5 October at 9pm, available afterwards on BBC iPlayer.

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