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CTE shock: ‘Polly’ Farmer diagnosed with footy-induced neurological disorder

AFL legend Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer has become the first Australian rules player diagnosed with CTE, a neurological disorder that’s causing shockwaves around internal contact sports.

Farmer was 84 when he died last year after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

But the shock discovery was made when tissue from his brain was analysed at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

He was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly referred to as CTE.

Medical experts believe the disorder was caused by repeated sub-concussive knocks over his years in the game.

“It appears that way (that the disorder was caused by footy),” neurophysiologist Dr Alan Pearce told Ross and John.

A report in online medical journal Acta Neuropathologica Communications has revealed the football legend was a sufferer for more than two decades.

Symptoms include memory loss, confusion and even depression, and often begin years before the last trauma.

But CTE can only be diagnosed after death.

Farmer’s case has triggered fears there are many more sufferers who won’t know they have the condition until it’s too late.

Click PLAY to hear neurophysiologist Dr Alan Pearce on 3AW Breakfast