42-Year-Old Champion With Dementia Regrets His Rugby Career, World Cup Win

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Assistant Blackpool manager Steve Thompson keeps an eye on the game during the npower Championship match between Charlton Athletic and Blackpool at The Valley on January 12, 2013 in London England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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A 42-year-old World Rugby champion with dementia regrets his athletic career and 2003 World Cup Win, The Guardian reported.

Steve Thompson of England clashes with Scottish players during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between England and Scotland at Eden Park on October 1, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. By Hannah Peters. Getty.

“You see us lifting the World Cup and I can see me there jumping around,” Steve Thompson told The Guardian. “But I can’t remember it.”

Steve Thompson was diagnosed with early onset dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to the Guardian. When he watched some of the England games from the 2003 World Cup on TV he said felt as if he was watching them live, The Guardian reported.

“It was as if I was watching England play now,” Thompson said to The Guardian. “Except I was there. But I can’t remember at all being there. Honestly, I don’t know scores from any of the games.”(RELATED: ‘I Was A Healthy, Young Athlete’: 23-Year-Old Rugby Player Suffers Stroke Due To COVID Complications)

Thompson started playing rugby when he was 15-years-old, The Guardian reported. He does not want his one-year-old son to play rugby when he his older, according to the outlet. At times, he cannot remember his wife’s name. “I could look at Steph sometimes. And she says it’s like I’m a complete blank. And she’ll go: ‘I’m Steph.’ The name’s gone. Gone.”

“It’s the rugby that’s put me through this,” he told The Guardian. “Some people go for the big lights, whereas I don’t want that. I never wanted that. I’d rather just have had a normal life.”