Steve Thompson, the champion of the Rugby World Cup, claims he was put on suicide watch

Image credit: The Times

As he battled early-onset dementia, Rugby World Cup winner Steve Thompson says he was “placed on suicide watch.”

Thompson, a former England hooker, is one of a group of former players who are suing the game’s governing bodies for negligence.

They claim that continuous hits to the head caused their dementia.

Sometimes I think that killing myself would be the least selfish thing I could do. That’s what this has the potential to do to me, “Thompson told the Daily Mail about it.

Thompson said after he went to a railway station “in a state” that he had been placed on suicide watch.

“You know, I’m more afraid of the highs than the lows,” he added. When I’m high, I feel amazing, but then I have to disappoint everyone because I can’t deliver on my promises.

Thompson made 195 appearances for Northampton before joining Brive in France.

In a nine-year international career, he earned 73 caps for England and three for the British and Irish Lions.

In December 2020, the front-row forward said he couldn’t recall any of the games he played in during England’s 2003 World Cup victory.

Thompson has stated that he will donate his brain to brain damage researchers.

Thompson was diagnosed with early-onset dementia and probably chronic traumatic encephalopathy—the term used to denote brain deterioration presumably caused by repeated head trauma—by neurologists at King’s College, London, before speaking out in 2020.

World Rugby announced in January that 2022 would be the year of player welfare in the sport.

In 2021, the world governing body unveiled a new concussion welfare plan that included help for ex-players as well as a restriction on full-contact training to avoid injuries.

Concussion made news again in February when a head injury organisation questioned whether Wales prop Tomas Francis should have been allowed to continue playing following a collision during a Six Nations match.