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International experts warn of coming CTE crisis: “It’s time to act Australia, we must prevent future cases and support families impacted.”
Concussion Legacy Foundation announces launch of new chapter in Australia to support patients and families, independent concussion and CTE research
(Melbourne) – Leading international concussion and CTE researchers are warning Australians today of an impending chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) crisis and urging parents, coaches, and sports organizations to take the effects of repetitive head trauma seriously. Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) co-founder and CEO Dr. Chris Nowinski will announce the launch of the newest international chapter of the organization, CLF Australia, tonight in Melbourne alongside families of those impacted, and former professional athletes who are pushing for change.
“I’m worried about what might happen to my brain as I get older, and I’m worried about my mates,” said Joey Didulica, a former Australian and Croatian national soccer team player. “It’s time to share the truth about brain disorders we may face from concussions and repeated head impacts, create solutions, and support those struggling.”
“I’m concerned about what is being said to the Australian public about the long-term effects of head knocks, especially CTE,” said Dr. Chris Nowinski, Concussion Legacy Foundation CEO and a board member of CLF Australia. “We've proven CTE is here in the Australian codes, we know it's caused by repetitive head impacts, and now it’s time to act to save the lives of people we care about, from our sports heroes to our kids."
Australian Sports Brain Bank founder and director Dr. Michael Buckland, Nowinski, and CLF Australia board member Dr. Alan Pearce coauthored a recent article in Frontiers in Neurology finding conclusively that CTE can be caused by repetitive head impacts.
“Australian families have suffered greatly to give us the evidence that shows beyond any reasonable doubt that CTE is caused by repetitive head impacts like those that occur in sporting codes,” said Buckland, who will also be a CLF Australia board member. “We must now mobilize to support families affected by CTE, as well as prevent CTE in athletes, especially children.”
CLF Australia will be under the leadership of Annitta Siliato, the sister of Paul Wheatley, a former AFL player who developed epilepsy after multiple concussions during his career and now struggles with memory impairment.
“Concussion in sports is so much bigger than you think, and the devastating impact it has on athletes and their entire families is very real.” said Siliato. “There are countless families suffering right now and we want them to know CLF Australia is here to support them.”
Symptoms of CTE include cognitive disorders like short-term memory loss, impaired judgment, and dementia. Among athletes confirmed to have died with CTE, symptoms like aggression, mood swings, depression, paranoia, impulse control problems, and substance abuse disorders are prevalent. CLF is launching the CLF HelpLine in Australia to support families battling concussion or CTE symptoms. The HelpLine provides personalized resources, treatment recommendations and peer support for patients and families effected by brain trauma.
CLF Australia is committed to accelerating brain bank and clinical research by recruiting former contact sport athletes to pledge to donate their brain to CTE research at the Australian Sports Brain Bank and join the CLF Research Registry so experts can better learn how to diagnose and treat the effects of brain trauma. All athletes are encouraged to sign up at brainbank.org.au.
Media members are welcome to attend the CLF Australia launch event in Melbourne on Monday 5 September. Expert, athlete, and family presentations begin at 4:00 p.m. at RMIT University Swanston Academic Building 80. Cocktail reception to follow at The Oxford Scholar Hotel.
Additional speakers include: Dr. Alan Pearce, Jamie Shine, Joe Williams, and Anita Frawley.
If you’re interested in coordinating interviews before the event, please contact Julia Manning at firstname.lastname@example.org