live Infotainment Factory: Devastating find in NRL great's autopsy

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Saturday, 13 July 2019

Devastating find in NRL great's autopsy


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Late Bulldogs great Steve Folkes has become the first Australian rugby league player publicly identified as suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) - the brain disease linked to repeated head injuries.

The degenerative brain disease was found in Folkes through an autopsy, after he died of a heart irregularity last year at age 59. The Sun Herald exclusively revealed the news on Sunday.

It was recently revealed that researchers and clinicians from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW Health Pathology and the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre had found evidence of CTE in two brains from former rugby league players. Their names were kept confidential.

However, the Folkes family confirmed that Steve Folkes was one of the diagnosed players.

"It's important to put a face and name to it," Folkes' daughter, Hayley Shaw, told the Herald.

Shaw told the Herald that the family used to laugh when Folkes forgot things, or repeatedly told the same old anecdotes.

"'Too many head knocks', he used to say," she said. "We didn't know that was actually the case."

Folkes won four premierships in a 245-game first-grade career for the Bulldogs. He also coached Canterbury to the 2004 NRL title. The tough second-rower played in an era where playing through concussion was met with celebration; it was considered an act of toughness.

"They could get knocked out three or four times in a game and get a pat on the back," Folkes' son, Daniel, told the Herald.

The finding of CTE in Folkes could have serious ramifications for rugby league. Legal firms are already assembling class actions on behalf of former rugby league players who may have suffered brain injuries.

The NFL has paid out more than $US500 million in settlements to former American football players over concussion-related brain injuries.

Late Bulldogs great Steve Folkes has become the first Australian rugby league player publicly identified as suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) - the brain disease linked to repeated head injuries.

The degenerative brain disease was found in Folkes through an autopsy, after he died of a heart irregularity last year at age 59. The Sun Herald exclusively revealed the news on Sunday.

It was recently revealed that researchers and clinicians from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW Health Pathology and the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre had found evidence of CTE in two brains from former rugby league players. Their names were kept confidential.

However, the Folkes family confirmed that Steve Folkes was one of the diagnosed players.

"It's important to put a face and name to it," Folkes' daughter, Hayley Shaw, told the Herald.

Shaw told the Herald that the family used to laugh when Folkes forgot things, or repeatedly told the same old anecdotes.

"'Too many head knocks', he used to say," she said. "We didn't know that was actually the case."

Folkes won four premierships in a 245-game first-grade career for the Bulldogs. He also coached Canterbury to the 2004 NRL title. The tough second-rower played in an era where playing through concussion was met with celebration; it was considered an act of toughness.

"They could get knocked out three or four times in a game and get a pat on the back," Folkes' son, Daniel, told the Herald.

The finding of CTE in Folkes could have serious ramifications for rugby league. Legal firms are already assembling class actions on behalf of former rugby league players who may have suffered brain injuries.

The NFL has paid out more than $US500 million in settlements to former American football players over concussion-related brain injuries.

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