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Gary Ablett Sr brain damage, concussion, class action, details, AFL Players Association response

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Gary Ablett Senior has revealed significant brain damage he sustained during his playing career, claiming he was met with silence after approaching the AFL Players Association for financial assistance.

Speaking to The Herald Sun, Ablett opened up on his diagnosis of “significant structural and functional brain damage” in the hope of raising awareness so he can help other players “experiencing the same problems”.

It comes after a class action against the AFL over concussion-related injuries was launched at the Supreme Court in Melbourne earlier this week, with up to 60 former players involved.

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“I began getting headaches and pressure in the top of my skull around 2010, initially a few days a week. It then led to depression, anxiety and extreme fatigue,” Ablett told The Herald Sun.

“Under the advice of doctors I then had numerous scans to try and find the cause of headaches and skull pressure. Those type of scans couldn’t pick up CTE so in a way it’s relieving to at least have identified the problem.

“From 2015 onwards, and almost every day, there were signs that things had changed, then about 12 months ago I started getting symptoms that alarmed me to the point where I contacted Peter Jess (Ablett’s former manager), whom I’m aware has been a concussion advocate for a number of past players.

“I told him of my concerns and Peter helped organise an MEG scan that American Military use. It showed I have significant structural and functional brain damage.

“I’ve since been seeing a Psychiatrist named Dr John Perica once a month and receiving some new medical treatment that’s been helping reduce the headaches and improving my mood.”

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Ablett said he then contacted the AFL Players Association hoping for financial assistance but claims that he heard nothing back, describing the lack of communication as “disrespectful”.

“After providing them with all the information four months ago they just started avoiding me and not getting back to me which I find extremely disappointing and disrespectful,” he said.

“I feel I made a significant contribution to the game over 16 years of VFL and AFL football so it seems I’m not the only one with memory problems. And while I certainly don’t want to bring the game into disrepute or damage the image of the game, I’m really wanting to reveal these issues more for awareness and other players who may be experiencing the same problems.”

The AFLPA was unavailable for comment but has previously refused to comment on specific cases.

To read the full Herald Sun story, tap here.

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