James Graham has become the first active rugby league player to pledge his brain to science upon his death.
The England international has joined former Australia internationals Peter Sterling and Mark Carroll in doing so to aid further research into concussion.
A recent study revealed two former rugby league players died of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – a condition linked with repeated head trauma.
“I sent my papers off on Wednesday (to donate my brain) so I guess when I die my brain and spinal cord, if I’m in Sydney, will be going to the Sydney University for them to look at, examine and hopefully some good can come of this,” said Graham.
“Hopefully players of all codes can sign up so it can lead to more research being done and figuring out the answers of what is a very tricky and complex situation.
“I want to be proactive rather than sit there at 70 or 80 and wonder how I am in this situation and why can’t I remember things.
“It’s confirmed they’ve found CTE in some former NRL players, so I’m really pleased to see the game is taking it seriously and I’m really interested to see the next step we take as a game.”
Former St Helens man Graham has been forced off due to concussion several times this season while playing in the NRL for St George Illawarra Dragons.
Furthermore, the 33-year-old has agreed to undertake tests during the remainder of his rugby league career when any potential concussions occur.
“I’m trying to arm myself with as much information as possible,” Graham said. “I have been in touch with people at the Monash Trauma Group and I am about to undergo a couple of tests there.”