February 24, 2013
Reporter: Peter FitzSimons
Producer: Paul Waterhouse
In this explosive and exclusive story, former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons meets two retired elite Aussie sportsmen as they discover the price they’ve paid for playing the games they love.
Greg Williams is an AFL legend, and one of the hardest men ever to play the game. In his glittering 14-year career, ‘Diesel’ won a premiership, two Brownlow Medals and was named in the AFL’s Team of the Century. .
Shaun Valentine is another tough bloke: like Williams, he copped countless on field wallopings in his career in rugby league. Williams retired at 34, Valentine at just 26. Both men are now struggling with everyday life as they battle the long-term effects of so many blows to the head during their respective careers. Both men are married with children – and both are facing the biggest challenge of their lives.
In what’s been a world first study here in Australia, the results of tests on retired professional players are revealed, and they will send shockwaves through all the codes.
Sunday Night is with both men when they undergo brain testing and receive their results. The fall-out from this story could dwarf even the current drugs scandal. The repercussions reach far and wide, as every single player will have to ask himself: is it worth it?
Sunday Night’s story came together with help from the team behind Head Games, a revealing documentary about the silent concussion crisis in American sports. In the film, athletes from the professional to the youth levels share their personal struggles in dealing with the devastating and long-term effects of concussions. Find out more about Head Games by visiting the film’s website, or CLICK HERE to watch the trailer.
Sunday Night would like to thank the following organisations for their assistance with this story: Sydney University Rugby Club, the Sports Legacy Institute in Boston, the Coburg Tigers Football Club, Carlton Football Club, and Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville.
A thank-you also to the charity SMART HEAD PLAY, which addresses sports concussion injuries and engages in education, risk-mitigation, rehabilitation and research funding activities.