Former St George Illawarra Dragons and Canterbury Bulldogs front-rower James Graham has revealed the concerning news he received following a recent MRI scan.
Graham was a renowned hard runner of the ball, playing over 400 first-class games in the UK and Australia and suffering what he describes as ‘100 concussions' during his playing days. He also played over 50 games at international level.
Last month Graham launched his acclaimed ‘Head Noise' podcast, investigating concussion and head injuries in professional sport and using himself as a prime example.
After averaging out the numbers, Graham has determined he took more than 18,000 hit-ups during his career
Following his latest scan, Graham has now revealed that a neurologist advised him that he had suffered ‘significant' brain trauma as a result of his career.
“While the neuropsychological tests I passed quite well, it's been confirmed via an MRI scan that part of my 36-year-old brain is damaged,” Graham admitted.
“That is ‘down on volume' at the front and side part of my brain.”
Graham penned a column for News Corp this weekend in the wake of the results, emphasising that ‘for someone my age, my brain should not be losing volume like this'.
Recent months have seen Graham step up his advocacy for greater action across all sports to address concussion and brain-related issues including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head but is currently only diagnosable after death.
Symptoms of CTE can include memory loss, irrational mood swings and disorientation.
Graham is also a board member of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, which was founded to support athletes, veterans and anyone else who had been affected by head injuries.