The winner of the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the English legend Steven Thompson suffers from early dementia at the age of 42.
He told it Guardian: ‘And it was as if I was looking at England now. Except I was there. But I don’t remember being there at all.
“To be honest, I don’t know any scores from the matches.
“You see us lifting the World Cup and I see myself jumping around there. But I don’t remember. “
Thompson, who admits that he sometimes forgets his wife’s name and has four children, all under the age of seven, started playing rugby when he was 15.
“I only met my wife in 2011, so she and the kids weren’t there during the heyday of the World Cup, but they will still have to pick up the pieces.
‘I really feel guilty about that.
“When we first started working full-time in the mid-1990s, training could quickly turn into full contact.
“There was one session where the scrummaging didn’t go quite well and they let us do a hundred live scrums. When it came down to it, we were actually just a bit of meat.”
He added, “I don’t want to kill the game. I want it to be regulated.
“Every year you drive your car, you get an MOT. The body is exactly the same. If it doesn’t work, you shouldn’t be doing your job.
“It sounds awful, because boys will have to retire at 22 or 23 years old. But trust me, it’s better to finish than to be where I am now.”