Former player's brain sent to USA to help concussion research
May 1, 2013
Peter FitzSimons in the Brisbane Age reports that the brain of former NSW Waratahs coach Barry ''Tizza'' Taylor, who died last week, is being sent to Boston University to help in research into concussion.
In a long club career Taylor, a fearless competitor, "was concussed many, many times, and just played through it" according to his wife. The University is undertaking extensive research into a condition known as CTE - chronic traumatic encephalopathy - which is a brain degenerative disease caused by repeated concussions and subconcussive hits. It is believed this leads to early onset dementia.
FitzSimons says that by the time he was in his late 50s Taylor was showing the early signs of dementia.
"Short-term memory loss was one of the first signs, as was erratic behaviour and odd outbursts of anger from this usually even-tempered and loving family man. At first they thought he was just turning into a 'cranky old man' and even though by his 60th birthday he was, in the words of his son Steven, ''already quite dotty'', still they thought it was just Tizza being Tizza … only more so. But then his condition worsened, particularly with his loss of memory and inability to control his anger." By the time he died at the age of 77 he was unable to recognise even his own family.
After discussions with FitzSimons, who had presented a programme on the University's work, Taylor's family agreed to allow his brain to be sent to the USA to be studied.
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