Former Wales rugby captain Ryan Jones has announced that he has dementia praecox, aged 41, in an interview with The Times on Saturday.
“I feel like my world is falling apart. And I’m really scared“, Called the former third line center to 75 selections, including 33 as captain.
The diagnosis was given to him in December by doctors who told him that this early illness was probably linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated shocks to the head.
The specialists consulted even admitted to him that he was among the worst cases they had seen, the newspaper said.
“I lived 15 years of my life as a superhero, but I’m not one. I don’t know what the future holds for me. I am the product of an environment where everything revolves around being functional and efficient. I am no longer able to perform as I warn“, he said.
“All I want is to lead a happy and normal life. But it’s been taken away from me and there’s nothing I can do. I can’t train harder, I can’t try to outwit the ref, I don’t know the rules of that game“, Continued the player who was first thought to be depressed.
Players not sufficiently protected
“Whether it was my partner or my family, they noticed changes in me. I was given depression but started to realize that some of my intellectual functions were bad“, such as short-term memory loss, difficulty finding words or mood swings.
He commented that despite photos of him with his children at Pen y Fan, the highest peak in Wales, he has no recollection of taking them there.
The neurologist following him was not very optimistic when explaining to him that his functions would probably continue to decline at the same rate as over the past 5 years.
If he did not speak of joining the complaint of several former rugby players against the sporting authorities for their action deemed impossible on the question of concussions, Jones is very critical of the current situation.
“It’s like walking with your head forward and your eyes closed towards a catastrophic situation.“, he summarized.