Roberts reveals rugby league has left him with brain damage

Ian Roberts playing for Australia. Anton Want/Getty Images

Retired rugby league star Ian Roberts has revealed that a career in the sport has left him with permanent brain damage.

Speaking after the publication of a report into the long-term effects of concussions suffered by former NRL players, Roberts told the BBC that he has memory loss and other symptoms which have resulted from scarring on his brain.

"To be told you have brain damage is really hard to hear," former Test player Roberts said.

"I was fully aware there was something wrong with me, but to be told I had scarring on the brain was surprising. It's irreversible damage."

The study into 25 former players revealed that repeated head injuries had left them with long-term impairments.

The NRL has said it is aware of the report and will continue to implement policies to minimise the occurrence and impact of concussions in the game.

"I've had some complications with my mental health since retiring from rugby league," Roberts said.

"My first major concussion was in my early teens, and when I turned professional I was knocked unconscious on 14 separate occasions.

"In the last five years I've noticed my recollection of things has slowed down and my memory isn't as sharp as it was. I'm just not as sharp as I was in the past."