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Brain blood test a ‘game changer’, as AFL star fears for his health


He will probably be assessed by the Macquarie Biobank – a separate entity to the Australian Sports Brain Bank – and hopes a blood test is accessible quickly.

“I still get a lot of headaches. I still have a bit of memory loss on a few things. I have always said I am a pretty happy-go-lucky sort of bloke but my mood swings quite a bit, especially over the last 15, 20 years,” Platten mentioned.

John Platten in action against the Demons.

John Platten in motion towards the Demons.Credit:Ken Irwin

“I don’t probably don’t show that as much as I could, especially in front of family and friends, but the moods do change a bit. I do wake up in the night with a few things.

“I am not saying that I have got it [CTE] but I want to make sure that I don’t get it. We are all getting older … you can just feel the symptoms that are happening to me could be a part of this CTE.”

Four VFL-AFL footballers – Graham “Polly” Farmer, Frawley, Tuck and Murray Weideman – have been posthumously identified with CTE. Tuck had been suffering severe CTE when he died on the age of 38 in 2020 – his death is now before the state coroner – whereas the state coroner discovered CTE was a “potential contributor” to the despair Frawley was experiencing earlier than his deadly automobile crash in 2019.


Platten mentioned their deaths had made him suppose much more about his personal signs.

“I know both of them [Tuck and Frawley] had problems. I probably haven’t got those problems as bad as those blokes. It does worry you when you hear about the CTE and what level they were at,” he mentioned.

“I think Tucky was at level four, Danny was at three … I think the highest level is five. That’s what all this research is for at the Biobank. Hopefully, in four or five years time we can have a blood test and see what is going to happen to you in the next 20 years. Fingers crossed. It does worry me about blokes like this that have gone before us and have had trouble.”

‘The real question is about safety’

Concussion campaigner Peter Jess mentioned there wanted to be a better deal with stopping concussions, thereby mitigating CTE, predominantly by way of testing utilizing trans-magnetic scanning. He additionally desires better punishment for “reckless on-field behaviour” that results in mind accidents.

“The real question is about safety,” Jess mentioned.

The AFL continues to evaluate and strengthen its concussion and head-knock protocols, whereas the league’s chief medical officer, Dr Michael Makdissi, is visiting golf equipment and discussing CTE.

Platten was optimistic Venables would be capable of attain an settlement over his state of affairs.

“It’s hard for me to tell because I don’t know the kid or what contract he was on, but I am sure they will come to some sort of agreement with the player, the club, the AFL and the past players’ association,” Platten mentioned.


Platten is certainly one of a number of former gamers impacted by head knocks concerned in a potential class action against the AFL led by lawyer Greg Griffin and player agent Jess. Platten mentioned planning was nonetheless ongoing.

‘Know the risk’

Sporting our bodies are frightened of the ramifications of CTE due to the potential monetary and authorized implications, and the specter of frightened mother and father not permitting kids to play sports activities the place head knocks are extra combative. But somewhat than concern what the brand new testing may discover, Mobbs mentioned sports activities – whether or not that be skilled or novice – and athletes ought to embrace having the ability to make an earlier, higher resolution in assessing any harm.

Mobbs mentioned higher testing would assist all soccer codes, jockeys, these concerned in fight sports activities, together with boxing, these with military-related blast trauma, and assist detect home violence.


“I think what we need to see across all the football codes is support in principle for this type of research at the Australian CTE Biobank, deconstructing any fear that might surround these sorts of diagnoses, because the community, in particular parents, who are looking after their children in sports … need to know the risk,” Mobbs mentioned.

“Some sports will be higher risk than others. We have all seen on TV the repeat head knocks, in AFL and other sports. As researchers and community members, we all love our sport and we want to see these sports thrive but in a safe way. That is so important for the children of today and we hope we don’t have yet another generation facing repetitive head injuries without evidence-based care.”

If you or anybody you realize wants help, name Lifeline on 131 114.

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