Soccer great Gary Ablett Sr has revealed he has “significant brain damage” due to his storied 248-game career.
Ablett, 61, said he had experienced “headaches and pressure in the skull” since 2010, which then progressed to migraines, insomnia, blurred vision, significant memory loss, anxiety, fatigue and severe depression.
After several cases of brain damage among former AFL players were highlighted in the media, Ablett underwent a MEG scan in November to find out exactly what was wrong with him.
Scans revealed that he had suffered “significant structural and functional brain damage”.
AFL legend Gary Ablett Sr (pictured) has revealed that he has significant brain damage and severe depression and memory loss as a result of his illustrious 248-game career.
Ablett, 61, revealed that he experienced “headaches and pressure in the skull” in 2010, which progressed to migraines, insomnia, blurred vision, significant memory loss, anxiety, fatigue and severe depression (Ablett pictured second from the left)
The AFL legend told the Herald Sun that he went for CTE scans so he could at least identify the reasons behind his chronic headaches and fatigue.
“From 2015 onwards, and almost every day, there were signs that things had changed, then about 12 months ago, I started having symptoms that alarmed me to the point where I contacted Peter Jess, who I know has been a concussion advocate. several former players,” Ablett said.
‘I talked to him about my concerns and Peter helped organize a MEG scan that is used by the US Military. He showed that I have significant structural and functional brain damage.
Since then, Ablett has seen a psychiatrist once a month and is receiving medical treatment for his headaches and depression.
The AFL legend who scored 1,025 goals for Geelong between 1984 and 1996, found himself unable to work in recent months and approached the AFL Players’ Association for financial help.
Following media attention on numerous cases of brain damage among former athletes, Ablett underwent a MEG scan in November, which revealed “significant structural and functional brain damage”.
He says he approached them four months ago and they started avoiding him and he hasn’t heard from them since.
“I feel like I made a significant contribution to the game over 16 years of VFL and AFL football, so it seems I’m not the only one with memory issues,” Ablett said.
“And while I certainly don’t want to bring the game into disrepute or damage the game’s image, I really do want to bring these issues out more for awareness and other players who may be experiencing the same issues.
While Ablett acknowledges that the AFL has taken significant steps to minimize head bumps in the modern game, he says that when he was playing head bumps were much more common.
Ablett estimates that he was knocked unconscious eight to 10 times in his career and had other signs of concussion on multiple occasions, including ringing in his ears and just feeling ‘out of it’.
Peter Jess, who was Ablett’s former manager, has led the way in making a change to headshots in the AFL.
He says the AFL’s lack of assistance for Ablett shows that a separate entity needs to be introduced to oversee past and present players get the medical care they need.
The AFL legend who scored 1025 goals for Geelong between 1984 and 1996, found himself unable to work in recent months and approached the AFL Players’ Association for financial help and heard nothing (Gary Ablett was treated by medical personnel)
Ablett’s former manager believes the AFL should pay for brain scans of retired players like Ablett.
“Clearly, we need to separate the health and welfare oversight of the AFL into an independent body of brain trauma experts to address what is a national sporting crisis,” Jess said.
“The AFL is good at organizing the game but terrible at looking after the welfare of its current and past players, nothing better demonstrated than wasting $25 million on a retrospective study that everyone knew what the outcome would be, which was if you played the game.” soccer”. you stand a chance of brain damage.
The AFL Players Association has previously refused to discuss specific cases.