Francis Maloney is one of 75 former professional rugby league players taking legal action against the RFL for allegedly failing to protect them from the risks caused by concussions, reports ITV News' Amy Lewis.
Former rugby league player Francis Maloney has said he contemplated taking his own life after being diagnosed with early-onset dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease linked to a history of head trauma.
The 48-year-old is one of 75 former professional rugby league players taking legal action against the Rugby Football League (RFL) for allegedly failing to protect them from the risks caused by concussions.
The former England International and Oldham Bears player told ITV News: "I remember when I first got the diagnosis, I've obviously attempted suicide before but I've contemplated it since because I thought you know what, I don't want somebody wiping my backside."
Maloney told of how he suffers from memory loss and loses his train of thought, saying, "a couple of times I've put the kettle in the fridge".
He sustained 14 concussions during his career, and claims he was often told to play on.
"We do expect injuries in rugby, we expect broken bones, torn hamstrings, smashed cheekbones, I've had the lot, but I didn't expect to have dementia at 48-years-old," Maloney said.
Maloney's revelation comes after John Stiles and Tom Charlton, relatives of England's 1966 World Cup winning heroes Nobby Stiles and Sir Bobby Charlton, told ITV News of the dementia threat they believe is posed to footballers by heading the ball.
Lawyer Richard Boardman, who is representing the ex-professional rugby players, said he believed there would be "hundreds if not thousands of former players who are going to deteriorate".
"Sadly we're going to have to watch a lot of our rugby heroes die prematurely over the next few years," he added.
The RFL says: "As a result of scientific knowledge, the sport of Rugby League continues to improve and develop its approach to concussion, head injury assessment, education, management and prevention across the whole game."
But while the sport has introduced rule changes to better protect players in the future, Maloney says for his generation it has come too late.
For expert analysis and insight on the biggest stories listen to our podcast to find out What You Need To Know