A Victorian coroner has called for more research on the long-term effects of headbuttons in contact sports while confirming the devastating final months of Danny Frawley’s life

Frawley, an AFL legend, had CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is associated with repeated blows to the head and cannot be diagnosed until after death

The 56-year-old took his own life in the car accident the day after his birthday in September 2019

In their findings on the death of St. Kilda legend told Victorian coroner Paresa Spanos AFL players should be encouraged to donate their brains to science to shed more light on CTE

Frawley suffered about 20 concussions during his 240-game career at St Kilda between 1984 and 1995 and retired before the discovery of CTE

His mental health began to deteriorate when he retired from a coaching role at Richmond in 2004, according to his wife, Anita

A decade later, he began seeing a psychiatrist about his depression, but “was never the same,” said Ms. Frawley

Frawley became an advocate for men’s mental health but kept the extent of his own struggles private

From late 2018 and the following year, he stopped taking his antidepressants and consulted his psychiatrist, began to drink excessively, withdrew from his family, and suffered as a result of his marriage

Frawley started treatment five weeks before his death, and the day before it seemed happy to celebrate his birthday with friends and family

“He had a significant set of depressive symptoms, including significant insomnia, depressed ruminants, relative anhedonia, self-blame, amotivation, dysfunction, and episodic passive suicidality,” the coroner’s report said Tuesday

“He also engaged in bad decisions and behavior that led to conflict in his marriage

“For his family, Mr. Frawley would lie in bed all week and be extremely needy, but he could put on a brave” public face “and appear to be functioning normally

“From around April 2019, she found that he was becoming increasingly unpredictable and began to eat and drink excessively

“Mr. Frawley has stopped showing up on scheduled bike rides with his friends and has been consumed with his own needs with little apparent consideration for his family

“He avoided his family’s Christmas party in July and preferred to spend the time with an AFL team in the country he had coached”

Ms. Spanos concluded that it was impossible to tell when Frawley developed a CTE and it was unclear how it was affecting his mental health

“Mr. Frawley began his football career in his early years and likely experienced head trauma before his personality was well established,” said the coroner

“This, coupled with the inability to diagnose CTE before death, confuses assessments of CTE’s contribution to personality, behavior, cognitive deficits, or mood swings”

The prevalence of CTE in Australia is unknown, but the coroner pointed to studies that indicated that at least 17 percent of people who experienced recurrent concussions or mildly traumatic brain injuries developed them

Her recommendations included calls to the AFL and its players’ association to encourage footballers to agree to donate their brains to the Australian Sports Brain Bank after their deaths

This would help continue research and improve safety for future AFL players and others involved in contact sports across the board, Ms. Spanos


At the beginning of this year, the AFL doubled the time in which affected players were no longer allowed to return to the field from six to twelve days

Readers seeking suicide prevention assistance and information can contact Beyond Blue at 1300 22 4636, Lifeline at 13 11 14, or Suicide Call Back Service at 1300 659 467

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Danny Frawley

World News – AU – Coroner confirms devastating details in Danny Frawley’s tragic death

Source: https://au.sports.yahoo.com/afl-2021-coroner-confirms-sad-details-danny-frawley-death-194515191.html