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HomeNFLBilly Guyton: A Pioneering Case of CTE in Professional Rugby

Billy Guyton: A Pioneering Case of CTE in Professional Rugby

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In a somber revelation, the rugby world faces its first confirmed diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a fully professional player. The late Billy Guyton, a former scrum-half who represented the New Zealand Māori and played Super Rugby for the Blues, Hurricanes, and Crusaders, succumbed to this degenerative brain disease in May 2023 at the age of 33.

Billy Guyton’s Brain Bank Discovery

Billy Guyton’s brain was donated to the brain bank at the University of Auckland. Recently, the results emerged, revealing changes consistent with CTE. Associate Professor Michael Buckland, founder and director of the Australian Sports Brain Bank, confirmed the diagnosis as stage 2 CTE—a classification that lies between mild (stage 1) and severe (stage 4) in the spectrum of this condition.

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CTE is associated with traumatic brain injury, whether from a single catastrophic incident (such as a car crash) or repeated blows to the brain over years of collision sports. While the length of time spent in such sports remains the most powerful association with CTE, Guyton’s case highlights the significance of head impacts even in a young player’s life.

Billy Guyton suffered multiple concussions during his career, leading him to retire prematurely in 2018 at the age of 28. His decision was influenced by the symptoms he experienced—a stark reminder of the toll that rugby’s physical demands can take on players.

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A Concern for the Rugby Community

New Zealand Rugby expressed concern about the possibility that repeated head impacts during rugby participation may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases later in life. The loss of a young and talented player like Billy Guyton resonates deeply within the rugby community.

Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed postmortem. However, scientific advancements are inching closer to a diagnostic method for living individuals. Dozens of former professional rugby players, including England’s World Cup winner Steve Thompson, Wales international Alix Popham, and All-Black Carl Hayman, have been diagnosed with suspected CTE.

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Billy Guyton’s legacy extends beyond the field. His case underscores the need for continued research, player safety measures, and awareness within rugby and other contact sports.

Read More- Tony Alford’s Shocking Move: From Buckeyes to Wolverines

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Arko Bhattacharyya
Arko Bhattacharyyahttp://www.thesportsorg.com
Arko Bhattacharyya is a content writer for swen entertainment and sports. This political science graduate is a huge sports fan . He uses his experience and passion to provide unique insight into all. Arko Bhattacharyya is a content writer combat based and us sports . Besides being a Us sports buff , he is also a massive football and cricket fan . Apart from his professional exploits as a content writer , he likes to travel and explore.
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