Ex-St Helens star James Graham becomes first rugby league player to make groundbreaking move

Former St Helens and NRL star James Graham is set to take part in a groundbreaking new move in a bid to help the sport move forward.

The one major issue currently facing the sport of rugby league is that of concussion. Now, though, Graham will take part in a new podcast that will attempt to come closer to shedding some light on the subject.

Graham amassed nearly 450 professional appearances and over that time suffered around 100 concussions, but confessed in The Australian: “It’s strange to watch who you were. It’s only four years ago, but still. It’s strange to think who you once were …”

Graham will interview major Australian sports stars such as Olympians and rugby union men and women in a bid to assess the wide-ranging issues stemming from concussion.

“I am willing to go where no footballer has gone before, and that is to have my brain tested and scanned and to share the results as I receive them,” Graham said.

“I wanted to be really open and honest about this issue, and I wanted people to come on this journey with me with an aim to create a constructive conversation around the issue – but mostly I want to create positive change.”

Graham has been vocal about the head issue problem in the past and now he has explained why people should care about it.

“It’s a very, very complex issue and I had to do some really deep thinking about what I wanted to do [during my career]. And what are the consequences [for] me,” Graham said.

“I have around 20 official concussions and as for unofficial head knocks ranging from the hundreds if not the thousands.

“So why should you care? You should care because professional sports in this country and across the globe are grappling with the issues of head trauma and how these issues trickle down to the fields our children play on.

“Most of us can remember a time when continuing to play on after a concussion was worn like a badge of honour where TV commentators would praise our bravery for throwing ourselves back into the action.

“But today it’s a different story. We keep hearing the games we play are safer than ever before but is that the truth?”

It’s an incredible gesture from Graham and will provide science with some huge research results that could be massive for the sport.