Because of the concussions he sustained last year, Leeds captain Stevie Ward was forced to retire at the age of 27, claiming he would not afford to put his health and brain at risk. The striker, a two-time Rhinos Grand Final winner, called for the sport to become more pragmatic about how it protects players to prevent another generation from being “guinea pigs” in testing.
Ward claims he suffered from concussion-induced symptoms on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 last year on a regular basis. “I struggle with migraines, dizziness, motion sickness, sensitivity to lights and screens, short-term memory issues, slurred speech and the inability to play sports or perform everyday tasks without irritating my symptoms,”I struggle with migraines, dizziness, motion sickness, sensitivity to lights and screens, short-term memory problems, slurred speech and the inability to play sports or perform everyday tasks without irritating my symptoms. “I love playing rugby league. I am immensely proud to have played on some of the biggest stages alongside my childhood heroes and to have tested myself to the absolute limit while feeling the incredible enthusiasm of Leeds fans, having been one myself as a youngster. I thank every player I played with and against, and I am especially grateful for the incredible friendships the sport has given me,” He has already witnessed the effect on his friend and teammate Rob Burrow of motor neurone disease, and says a more aggressive approach is required. “The same day I found out about Rob (Burrow’s MND diagnosis), I was named club captain and was immensely motivated to play for Rob in 2020 and get the Rhinos winning trophies for him again. “I was named club captain the same day I found out about Rob (Burrow’s MND diagnosis), and was immensely motivated to play for Rob in 2020 and get him again with the Rhinos winning trophies. For Rob, it was no longer about winning awards. It’s about getting an insight into the terrifying world of neurological disability now and becoming another voice to help bring about the necessary changes. “With the news about Rob and the current climate for rugby union players, I can’t help but ask the questions that need to be asked,” he said. I remain motivated to help get our sport to a point where it can ensure players’ long-term safety while retaining the beauty and excitement of the game. “I remain motivated to help get our sport to a place where it can ensure the long-term safety of players while maintaining the beauty and excitement of the game. ” “Obviously more research is needed,” he said. “But I think there is an element of laziness in just making that statement. It’s time now to ask and answer more specific questions: ‘What is this research going to be? How will it be funded? How long will this new research take? And how do we focus our efforts in the meantime? “What can be done to make things better for our players now is the most important issue. In order to be guinea pigs for future research that will take years to give us the answers we need now, we need to be more proactive and not depend on another generation of players. View this post on InstagramA post shared by Stevie Ward (@ste ward)Ward says doctors have told him that the symptoms he suffers from never go away in a minority of cases, and that he “retires with the dream of being able to live with everyday normality again soon.” Ward will focus not only on his full recovery, but also on his work with Mantality, an organization that advocates for people wii.