A former captain of a championship-winning Australian rules football team yesterday became the fourth league player to be posthumously diagnosed with a debilitating neurological disease linked to head trauma and concussions.
Murray Weideman, who led the Collingwood Magpies to a grand final win over Melbourne in 1958 in the Victorian Football League, joins Danny Frawley, Graham Farmer and Shane Tuck in having chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) detected and diagnosed in the past two years.
The Victorian Football League was the forerunner to the Australian Football League.
Weideman’s family yesterday revealed the findings of the Australian Sports Brain Bank’s report.
Weideman died in February, a day after his 85th birthday. After noticing serious changes to Weideman’s personality in the past few years, his family spoke with him about donating his brain.
“I said: ‘Dad, we have got to do this, we have got to help,’” his son Mark Weideman told News Corp media. “The more science can build up and get evidence, the better things will become in the future.”
“He was 100 percent behind this,” he added. “You don’t really think about it because your life goes along pretty smoothly for a long time, but then it kicks in late.”
Farmer, who played with the Geelong Cats, was the first Aussie rules footballer diagnosed with CTE in February last year.
Former Richmond midfielder Tuck was assessed as having the “worst-seen case” of CTE when results were revealed by the brain bank in January.
Frawley died in 2019 at the age of 56.
The Victorian Coroners Court said in a report that Frawley was battling depression when he crashed his car into a tree outside Melbourne.
Police estimated that the vehicle was traveling at least 130kph at the time of impact.
Frawley, who played 230 matches for the St Kilda Saints from 1984 to 1995, had spoken publicly about his mental health battles.
No alcohol or illicit drugs were found in his system on the day of his death and he was posthumously diagnosed with CTE.
Frawley’s wife Anita said he was “never the same” even after treatment for depression.
“To his family, Mr Frawley would lie in bed all week and be extremely needy, but he would be able to put on a brave ‘public face’ and give the appearance of normal functioning,” the report said.
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