Ablett Sr speaks of concussion toll from AFL career

Gary Ablett Sr, one of the greatest players in AFL history, has spoken of his concerns that he has suffered brain damage from concussions during his on-field career.

The Geelong icon is the highest-profile former player to reveal his health issues in relation to on-field concussion, now a major issue in world sport.

Fellow former Cats player Max Rooke is the lead plaintiff in a class action involving former players against the AFL, seeking up to $1 billion in compensation.

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Separately, Ablett on Sunday detailed a diagnosis of brain damage, which he says is related to his legendary playing career.

He has contacted his former manager Peter Jess, who has become a prominent advocate for ex-AFL players over the concussion issue.

Jess is not involved in the class action launched last week by Maralit Injury Lawyers, but he is working with lawyer Greg Griffin on a separate legal case.

"I started getting symptoms that alarmed me to the point where I contacted Peter Jess, whom I'm aware has been a concussion advocate for a number of past players," Ablett told News Corp.

"I told him of my concerns and Peter helped organise an MEG scan that American Military use. It showed I have significant structural and functional brain damage.

"Obviously I was a very physical player and while I only got totally knocked out eight-10 times, I experienced being semi-concussed, such as ears ringing and out of it for a few minutes many dozens of times.

"But because you weren't knocked completely out you wouldn't even bother mentioning it."

Previously, Ablett also has admitted to illicit drug use when he was younger.

Last week, the AFL released a statement saying it had made more than 30 changes to concussion protocols, tribunal guidelines and on-field rules to protect players' heads.

It also released a strategic plan for sport-related concussion in Australian football.

Last week, rugby league made the most significant changes to its concussion policy in nearly a decade, introducing a mandatory 11-day stand down for players after brain injuries.