Football great Gary Ablett Sr has revealed he has “significant brain damage” from his illustrious 248-game career.
Ablett, 61, said he had “headaches and pressure on the skull” from 2010, which then progressed to migraines, insomnia, blurred vision, significant memory loss, anxiety, fatigue and severe depression.
After the media exposed several cases of brain damage among former AFL players, Ablett underwent an MEG scan in November to find out exactly what was wrong with him.
The scans revealed that he had suffered “significant structural and functional brain damage.”
AFL legend Gary Ablett Sr (pictured) has revealed he has significant brain damage and severe depression and memory loss as a result of his illustrious 248-game career
Ablett, 61, revealed that in 2010 he experienced “headaches and pressure on the skull,” which progressed to migraines, insomnia, blurred vision, significant memory loss, anxiety, fatigue, and severe depression (Ablett in second photo from left)
The AFL legend told the Herald Sun that he was getting scans for CTE so he could at least identify the reasons behind his chronic headaches and fatigue.
“From 2015, and almost every day, there were signs that things had changed, and about 12 months ago I started having symptoms that worried me to the point where I contacted Peter Jess, who I know had a concussion. advocated for some past players,” Ablett said.
“I told him about my concerns and Peter helped organize a MEG scan that the US military uses. It showed that I have significant structural and functional brain damage.’
Ablett has since 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 assistance.
Following the media coverage of numerous cases of brain damage in former athletes, Ablett underwent an 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 anything since.
“I feel like I’ve made a significant contribution to the game over 16 years of VFL and AFL football, so it looks like I’m not the only one with memory problems,” said Ablett.
And while I certainly don’t want to discredit the game or damage the image of the game, I really want to reveal these issues more to the awareness and to other players who may be experiencing the same issues.
While Ablett acknowledges that the AFL has taken important steps to minimize headbutts in the modern game, he says that when he played, headbutts were much more common.
Ablett estimates he was knocked unconscious eight to 10 times in his career and had other signs of a concussion on multiple occasions, including ringing ears and a feeling of “not belonging.”
Peter Jess, who was Ablett’s former manager, has been at the forefront of making a headbutt change in AFL.
He says the AFL’s lack of help for Ablett shows that a separate entity should be introduced to see to it that past and current players receive 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 assistance and heard nothing back (Gary Ablett was attended to by medical staff)
Ablett’s former manager thinks the AFL should pay for the brain scans of retired players like Ablett.
“Clearly we need to separate the AFL’s oversight of health and wellness from an independent body of brain trauma experts to address a national sports crisis,” Jess said.
“The AFL is good at setting up the game, but terrible at looking after the well-being of their past and current players, no better demonstrated than wasting $25 million on a retrospective study that everyone knew what the outcome would be, and that was if you played football you are at risk of getting brain damage.’
The AFL Players Association has previously declined to discuss specific cases.