A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to support former Leeds captain Stevie Ward, after the shocking revelations about the impact concussion has had on his everyday life.
Ward, 27, was forced in to early retirement at the start of 2021 due to migraines and memory issues from two concussions suffered a year earlier.
The head impacts against Wigan, in a pre-season friendly, and then Hull in the Super League season opener were the last two games he played.
Despite following concussion protocol, the neurological impact linked to those injuries are likely to have a long-term impact.
In a harrowing interview with the Daily Mail, Ward revealed he struggles to walk across the road or even see in artificial light.
He said: “I see the simplest things I can’t do and, honestly, I fear if I’ll ever get back to normal.
“I’m dreading winter. I have the lights on for a bit in the evenings at the moment, but when it gets dark earlier it’s going to be bad. I know it will.
“It is hard and if I think what my life was, I know this isn’t great. But I’m trying.”
Cost of private treatment
Ward is currently undergoing treatment with a private vestibular therapist, though the cost of it is becoming prohibitive and unsustainable.
He has made some progress as a result, and is now able to walk for more than 20 minutes without dizziness – something that wasn’t possible at the start of the year.
Leeds fan, Kay Berry, has launched a crowdfunder on Go Fund Me to help support the continuation of the private treatment.
Kay wrote: “I noticed on Stevie’s Instagram that he is trying to transfer over to the NHS for this treatment as the private treatment is expensive and unsustainable.
“This doesn’t sit right with myself. Stevie was a fantastic player and I feel as a Rhinos fan I want to help and and thank him for what he gave for our club.
“Stevie’s life is totally different now because of Rugby League. I would like to help him to continue with his private treatment in the hope it will improve his symptoms further.
“Stevie suffers from daily migraines, head pressure, sensitivity to screens/lights and noise. The only exercise he can do is walk for twenty minutes.
“I have approached the club and the Benevolent fund but wanted to start this page in case fans wish to donate to this cause.”
To donate to the crowdfunder in aid of Stevie Ward, click here.