Ex-Wigan player reveals rugby league left him with brain damage

Ian Roberts played 20 games for Wigan and later became an actor
Ian Roberts played 20 games for Wigan and later became an actor
Share this article

Former Wigan player Ian Roberts has revealed rugby league has left him with irreversible brain damage.

The ex-Australia international, 52, was one of 25 retired players who took part in a study into the effects of repeated concussions.

“I was fully aware there was something wrong with me, but to be told I had scarring on the brain was surprising,” he told the BBC. “It’s irreversible damage.”

Roberts played 20 games for Wigan in 1986-87, winning the John Player Trophy and Lancashire Cup.

In 1995 he became the first rugby league player to reveal he was gay, and later launched an acting career - which has been hampered, he says, by his brain injuries.

“My ability to learn lines has deteriorated. I’m just not as sharp as I was in the past,” he said.