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Ex-Scottish players to undergo a new brain health MOT

By PA
(Photo by Rusty Cheyne/Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

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Former Scotland rugby players are to be given the opportunity to receive a brain health MOT. Scottish Rugby is offering the pilot service to ex-players as part of its commitment to their welfare. It will be held at Murrayfield and delivered by professor Craig Ritchie from the University of Edinburgh. 

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Invitations to male and female ex-players will begin to go out this week, the union said. The investigation process has three stages, with the patient being seen by the clinician two to three times over a period of several months. 

The investigation phase will involve blood testing, brain scanning and health/lifestyle interviews which will help build a picture of how the clinicians can best support the individual with a brain health plan. 

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The clinic concept is intended to be extended to former players in a range of contact sports, and ultimately to the wider public. Scottish Rugby said it had worked with Brain Health Scotland, Alzheimer Scotland, the University of Edinburgh and World Rugby to establish the clinic.

Scottish Rugby’s chief medical officer Dr James Robson explained: “I am delighted we are now ready to invite former Scotland players to the pilot Brain Health Clinic at BT Murrayfield.

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“Our first discussions on opening such a clinic began over two years ago and it is only down to the vision and commitment of our colleagues at Brain Health Scotland, Alzheimer Scotland, the University of Edinburgh World Rugby and NHS Scotland that we are able to now begin providing this unique service, initially to former players and hopefully in the future out to the public at large.

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“While a lot is known about physical and mental health, the health of our brain is an area we continue to learn more about and the clinic is a groundbreaking and essential step in taking that understanding further and supporting those who have played rugby as they enter later life.”

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