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Sport brain injuries ‘worse than mad cow disease’

Former Scotland rugby star John Beattie announced he planned to donate his brain to neuroscience. Picture: TSPL

Former Scotland rugby star John Beattie announced he planned to donate his brain to neuroscience. Picture: TSPL

  • by JAMES MULHOLLAND
 

BRAIN injuries caused by playing sport could be a hidden health time bomb worse than Mad Cow Disease, a leading Scottish neuropathologist has warned.

Dr Willie Stewart, a consultant neuropathologist at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, fears successive blows to the head sustained in sports such as rugby and football could lead to brain damage in later life – including dementia and premature death.

He wants a public inquiry to be held into the dangers of concussion in sport as he believes the risks to the public could be more widespread than the impact of the human form of Mad Cow Disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).

He warned that footballers have the most to worry about.

In 2012 former Scotland rugby star John Beattie announced he planned to donate his brain to neuroscience after he dies, after evidence suggested rugby players’ brains may suffer injuries as a result of knocks to the head, so that doctors could study any ill effects sustained during his playing career.

Beattie is concerned that bruising encounters may have caused unseen damage.

 

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