League great claims league damaged his brain

Last updated 19:11 11/03/2014

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Souths forward Luke Burgess isn't scared by Ian Roberts' claim he suffered brain damage playing rugby league, but he's concerned it could deter kids from the code.

Renowned hard man Roberts made the claim on the Sunday Night television programme, believing damage he's been diagnosed with was caused by numerous head knocks he took during his distinguished career.

He is now an actor and revealed he sometimes had trouble remembering his lines.

Asked if he was scared by the report, Burgess said: ''It didn't scare me, it's just not nice to hear stories like that about  ex-players.

''It's a bit more worrying for younger kids playing the game.

''They might hear stories like that and think 'rugby league is not for me.'

''But with the new approaches that the NRL is taking, hopefully that can still encourage young kids to get out and still compete in the game.''

Just last week in the NRL opening round, Burgess's brother George was hit by an illegal shoulder charge from Sonny Bill Williams, which led to the Kiwi superstar being suspended for three weeks.

''I think he (George) is alright, he seemed alright after the game,'' Burgess said.

He applauded the NRL's drive to make the game safer, with a new concussion policy introduced to protect players.

''It's good to see the game is trying to look after the players now,'' Burgess said,

''With experienced players like Ian Roberts coming out and saying he's got a bit of brain damage, from football, you don't want to hear stuff like that.

''I know we were briefed by the NRL. We had some guys come out  and see us and describe what a shoulder charge is and how to avoid  shoulder charges.

''We've all been briefed on the rules and it's just something that we've got to stick to now.

''Whether we like it or not as players that's irrelevant.

''We've just got to abide by the rules now and try and avoid injury.''

 


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