Former rugby league player, coach had CTE before his suicide

SYDNEY (AP) — The widow of former National Rugby League player and coach Paul Green says he had been living with a “severe” and undiagnosed case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) before his death by suicide.

Amanda Green told The Australian newspaper on Saturday that a post-mortem analysis of her late husband’s brain had revealed signs of CTE, a brain condition caused by repeated head trauma.

Green, who was North Queensland’s only NRL title-winning coach, committed suicide on Aug. 11 at the age of 49.

Professor Michael Buckland of the Australian Sports Brain Bank said Green had sustained one of the more “severe” cases of the condition he had seen, which may have affected his impulse control and decision-making prior to his death.

“It was not him, it was the brain disease,” Buckland told the newspaper. “The only known cause for the organic brain disease is exposure to repetitive head impacts. I suspect he would have been coping with stuff he didn’t understand for quite a while.

“He didn’t have mental health problems; he just couldn’t control stuff that was going on in his head.”

Amanda Green said she had had suspected her husband was not living with depression as had been speculated originally and said the diagnosis afforded some “peace and relief” to the family, including her son and daughter.

“I was able to sit (son) Jed down and explain ‘Daddy’s brain was sick, that’s why he did what he did’. The diagnosis has helped them understand what happened,” she said.

“For my daughter Emerson it has also given her a sense of relief because of what’s being said (that Green had depression). She now understands that he wasn’t in that space and there’s nothing we could have done because he was sick. We just didn’t know it.”

Adding to the worldwide cases of CTE among National Football League players and those in other contact sports, former Australian rules football players Danny Frawley and Shane Tuck were both diagnosed with CTE following their deaths, while former South Sydney NRL player Mario Fenech has been diagnosed with the condition.

Green coached the North Queensland Cowboys to the NRL title in 2015 and played 162 matches for five NRL teams from 1994 to 2004. He played two tests for Australia and 10 State of Origin matches for Queensland.


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