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‘We want to save lives’: NRL Ninja seeks a scientific legacy

Australian Ninja Warrior semi-finalist Eloni Vunakece plans on donating his brain to science in hopes it’ll lead rugby league into a safer future.

The former Sydney Roosters star was forced to retire from rugby league at the end of 2018 due to repeated concussions, after making his debut when he was 28 years old.

Mr Vunakece estimates he took around 15 knocks to the head during his professional career, but believes he’s “pretty lucky” compared to some.

“Three were pretty bad, where I was unconscious for about 5-ish minutes or so”, he told Jim Wilson.

“I had a little bit of memory loss on one of them, in a grand final.”

By donating his brain to concussion research, Mr Vunakece hopes to shed light on an under-tested area of long-term sport safety.

“If I’m not going to be using it when I pass, the everyone else might as well use my brain.

“I’d like to leave some sort of legacy … and hopefully advance the science.

“We want to save lives, but we don’t want it to cost us out of a great game.”

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Image: Nine