Ex-Wakefield Trinity and Australian rugby league hero Wally Lewis reveals devastating brain injury diagnosis

RUGBY LEAGUE has been sent into shock over the past few days with the news that rugby league hero Wally Lewis is now thought to be suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE is caused by repeated head trauma and increasingly linked to long-term exposure to contact sports, and can lead to dementia.

Lewis captained Queensland in 30 State of Origin games between 1980 and 1991 and is widely regarded as one of Australia’s greatest ever players before turning his hand to coaching and then commentary.

The 63-year-old also had a ten-game spell with Wakefild Trinity back in the early 1980s before spells at Wynnum Manly, Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast.

CTE is only diagnosed through an autopsy of the brain and is known to be a rather rare disease, but Lewis has told the show, 60 Minutes, that his doctor Rowena Mobb all-but confirmed the diagnosis after a routine memory test.

He said on the show: “One of my first meetings with the doctor, she asked me to repeat simple things. I think it might have been five things and it might have been something like bus, dog, truck, camera, chair.

“She went to them two or three times, she asked me how I was feeling. A minute later she said what are the things I asked you to remember and I got two of them.”

Lewis’s neurologist, Rowena Mobbs, told 60 Minutes: “You could interpret it as guesswork, but it’s educated guesswork by a specialist in dementia. It’s devastating. I cried that night on my way home from work.

“It’s hard to see these players go through it. They’re people I’ve admired and, and loved growing up, so the last thing I want to do is diagnose them with dementia.”