/ 24 February 2021

More brain power needed on footy head injuries

Victorian coroner Paresa Spanos wants AFL players to donate their brains to research when they die to further the understanding of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The recommendation followed an investigation into the death of AFL playing and coaching great Danny Frawley, who died in a car crash in September 2019. A post mortem found he was suffering from low stage chronic CTE – likely linked to the 20 concussions he sustained during his playing career. However, Spanos yesterday said it was impossible to tell how much and when the brain disease potentially started changing Frawley’s personality, finding personal stress and not taking his mental health medication were factors in his death at 56yo. More research into CTE, which is linked to mood and behavioural changes, is required the coroner said. CTE can only be diagnosed by an autopsy.

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