Former New Zealand prop Carl Hayman has been diagnosed with early onset dementia at 41 years old. This is after years of “constant headaches” and he joins the lawsuit by former players who are suing World Rugby over its failure to protect players.

Carl Hayman, a former New Zealand rugby player, has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia at 41. This shines a spotlight on concussion-related illnesses in ex-rugby players.

Hayman, who had just completed 45 of his tests at the 2007 World Cup in Brazil, revealed to the New Zealand sports website ‘The Bounce he had also been diagnosed as having probable chronic traumatic epilephalopathy (CTE).

“I believed I was going mad for several years. Hayman stated that at one point, “That’s genuinely what my mind thought.”

Carl Hayman, an ex-New Zealand football player, has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia

“It was the constant headaches, all these things that were going on that I couldn’t understand.

Hayman, whose playing career ended six-years ago with French club Toulon was afflicted by alcohol abuse. He was sentenced to a suspended sentence in France in 2019, after he admitted to domestic violence charges.

He joined a class-action lawsuit filed by former players alleging that rugby federations including World Rugby failed to protect them from concussion.

Many former rugby players have been diagnosed having permanent brain damage, early onset Alzheimer’s, depression or other signs and symptoms of CTE. This condition can only be diagnosed after death.

He has joined a class lawsuit of 70 former players including Michael Lipman

Lipman suffered 30 concussions in his career

Hayman joined a class-action lawsuit that includes 70 former rugby players, including Michael Lipman. Lipman suffered 30 concussions throughout his career and now has mild dementia at age 40.

Hayman thought he was 'going crazy' with constant headaches before getting his brain tested

Hayman thought he was going insane with constant headaches, before he had his brain tested

World Rugby has implemented stricter concussion protocols recently and announced in July that it would partner unions, independent health experts, and player associations in order to offer brain care to ex-players as part of a new welfare strategy.

Hayman stated that he hesitated before accepting an offer to have his brain tested.

He said, “I um’d, ah’d for approximately 12 months about whether or not I’d do something about it and find out what was wrong with my body, or if I would just continue to live my life and hope for better.”

“It would have been very selfish of my to not speak out and talk about my experience, when I could help a man in New Zealand maybe who doesn’t understand what is happening and has no support network.