For Steve Thompson, it is ultimately about “making rugby safer”. The former hooker, 2003 world champion with England and now 43 years old, has announced that he wants to bequeath his brain to science, relays the BBC. The ex-Northampton and Brive forward was diagnosed with dementia precocious in November 2020. A month later he was among the group of nearly 100 former players to announce legal action against World Rugby, the English Federation and the Welsh Rugby Federation.
The complainants accuse his authorities of having poorly dealt with the problem of concussions. Thompson then explained that he had absolutely no recollection of this victorious World Cup won alongside Jonny Wilkinson in Australia, of which he nevertheless played every game.
A disease only detectable post-mortem
The Englishman will make his donation to the Concussion Legacy Project (CLP), in order to search for traces of a chronic encephalopathy (CTE), from which he probably suffers but which can only be diagnosed during post-mortem examinations. “I bequeath my brain so that the children of the people I love do not have to go through the hardships I am going through,” explains Thompson, permanently withdrawn from the field since December 2011, because of neck problems that already had it. forced to stop his career for the first time four years earlier.
“It’s up to my generation to give our brains so that researchers can develop better treatments and ways to make our sport safer,” said the hooker to 73 caps with the XV de la Rose, plus three with the British Lions .
Adam White, executive director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation UK (CLF), which heads the CLP, hopes to be able “to stop all new cases of chronic encephalopathy within the next five years and find a cure before 2040”.