Former New Zealand prop Carl Hayman diagnosed with onset of dementia aged 41 after years of ‘constant headache’ joins lawsuit from former players suing World Rugby for failing to protect players
Former New Zealand gag Carl Hayman has been diagnosed with incipient dementia at the age of 41, putting the spotlight on the concussion-related illness in former rugby players.
Hayman, who played the last of his 45 tests at the 2007 World Cup, revealed on New Zealand sports website ‘The Bounce’ that he also had probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
“For several years I thought I was going crazy. At one point I really thought that,” Hayman said.
Former New Zealand prop Carl Hayman has been diagnosed with early-stage dementia
“It was the constant headache and all these things that I couldn’t understand.”
Hayman, whose playing career ended six years ago at French club Toulon, has struggled with alcohol abuse in recent years and was given a suspended prison sentence in France in 2019 after admitting to allegations of domestic violence.
He has joined a class action lawsuit being prepared by former players alleging that rugby federations, including the global governing body World Rugby, have failed to protect them from the risks of concussion.
Many former rugby players have been diagnosed with permanent brain damage, incipient dementia, depression or symptoms and signs of CTE, which cannot be diagnosed until after death.
Hayman has joined a class action lawsuit against 70 former rugby players, including Michael Lipman, who suffered 30 concussions during his career and now has mild dementia at age 40.
Hayman Thought He Was ‘Going Crazy’ With Constant Headaches Before Getting His Brain Tested
World Rugby has implemented stricter concussion protocols in recent years and said in July it would work with independent health experts, unions and players’ associations to provide brain health care to former players as part of a new welfare plan.
Hayman said he hesitated before accepting offers to have his brain tested for damage.
“I’ve been um’d and ah’d for about 12 months on whether I should do something about it and find out if there was something wrong with me, or if I should just go on living and hope for the best ,’ he said .
“It would be quite selfish of me not to talk about my experience if I could perhaps help a man in New Zealand who doesn’t understand what’s happening to him and doesn’t have a support network to lean on.”