Former Wales rugby captain Ryan Jones diagnosed with dementia at 41 ingiltere breaking news
Jones has opened up on his condition in an emotional newspaper interview Former Wales captain Ryan Jones has revealed he has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of 41. The 75-cap Grand Slam-winning forward, who also played in three Lions ...
Former Wales captain Ryan Jones has revealed he has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of 41.
The 75-cap Grand Slam-winning forward, who also played in three Lions Tests on the 2005 tour of New Zealand, has opened up on his condition in an emotional interview with The Times.
“I feel like my world is falling apart. And I am really scared. Because I’ve got three children and three step-children and I want to be a fantastic dad,” he says. “I lived 15 years of my life like a superhero and I’m not. I don’t know what the future holds.
“I am a product of an environment that is all about process and human performance. I’m not able to perform like I could. And I just want to lead a happy, healthy, normal life. I feel that’s been taken away and there’s nothing I can do. I can’t train harder, I can’t play the referee, I don’t know what the rules of the game are anymore.”
Jones, who skippered Wales 33 times, received the diagnosis of probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in December, being told he was one of one of the worst cases the specialists had seen.
“Whether it was partner or family, they were noticing changes in me. I was diagnosed with depression and I started to realise that some of my cognitive function wasn’t great. I began to see that my short-term memory wasn’t great. I was forgetting things,” he said.
It emerged that the depression was a symptom of the dementia. Jones, who resigned from his post as WRU Performance Director in October 2020, said: “It terrifies me because I don’t know if, in two years’ time, we’re sat here and these episodes are a week long, two weeks long or permanent. That’s the fear, that’s the bit that never leaves. That’s the bit I can’t shake off.
“Every episode I have also leaves a bit of a legacy. Everything we cancel, every relationship that I poison or don’t have time for anymore, just makes it a little bit tougher to cope. I don’t know how to slow that down, make it stop, what to do.”
Ex-back five forward Jones added: “I was a kid who had a dream of playing for Wales. I got to live that dream. I captained Wales more times than anyone else until Warby [Sam Warburton] came along and I wouldn’t change. Actually I would change it based on my experience now. But in the moment it was amazing.”
As for the game and its response to brain injury, Jones says: “It is walking headlong with its eyes closed into a catastrophic situation.”