Who is England Rugby World Cup hero Steve Thompson and when was he diagnosed with dementia?

IF you didn’t believe the effect of top-flight rugby on the human brain, now you will.

England’s Rugby World Cup hero Steve Steve Tompson is set to reveal all in a documentary showing the damage the sport has done to his brain.

Steve Thompson in action during England's 2003 Rugby World Cup semi-final win over France

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Steve Thompson in action during England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup semi-final win over FranceCredit: Action Pictures
Steve Thompson with his wife Steph

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Steve Thompson with his wife Steph

Thompson, 44, is one of the most famous front rows in Red Rose history – but his new movie is set to shock some viewers.

Who is Steve Thompson?

Steve Thompson was born in 1978 in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

He attended Northampton School for Boys and started playing rugby when he was 15, also playing for Northampton Casuals.

He then played alongside future world champion Ben Cohen in a youth team for the Northampton Old Scouts.

He joined Northampton Saints and after playing in the back row was convinced to play as a hooker and made his Saints debut in 1998.

He made 195 appearances for the Premiership club in nine seasons and made his England debut under Sir Clive Woodward in 2002.

A year later he became world champion alongside Johnny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson, Mike Tindall and Lawrence Dallaglio.

He would go on to claim 73 caps for England, as well as three on the 2005 tour for the British and Irish Lions.

Thompson has revealed he has no memories of England's Rugby World Cup victory celebrations

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Thompson has revealed he has no memories of England’s Rugby World Cup victory celebrationsPhoto credit: Getty
The all-conquering trio of Phil Vickery, Steve Thompson and Trevor Woodman after England's Rugby World Cup final victory

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The all-conquering trio of Phil Vickery, Steve Thompson and Trevor Woodman after England’s Rugby World Cup final victoryPhoto credit: Rex

Thompson retired in 2007 after suffering a neck injury for Northampton in a game against Biarritz.

He then retired from playing and joined Brive as a consultant.

But then, after medical advice, he decided to play again and played in the top 14 for three more seasons.

After joining Leeds Carnegie, he signed with Wasps in May 2011.

However, after just one game, he suffered another neck injury in training, which meant he needed surgery to relieve the numbness and dizziness.

When was he diagnosed with dementia?

Thompson announced he was suffering from dementia at the age of 42.

He revealed it was caused by repeated hits to the head – something a hooker suffers thousands of times in her career – partly due to the nature of a scrum.

He announced in September 2021 that he would donate his brain to research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

He told the Mail: “I was placed on suicide watch a while ago. A few weeks ago I was in a state on the ward.

“My doctor suggests some things to help me stay calm at home, like spraying some of Steph’s perfume on myself or looking at pictures of the kids.

“That day I was just like, ‘Fuck it.’ There is an express train that runs through without stopping.

“It actually happened before I got there. I sat on the next one and just yelled my eyes out.

“Sometimes I think killing myself is the least selfish thing to do. That can happen to me.”

Is Steve Thompson married and how many children does he have?

Steve is married to his wife Steph.

They have three children together.

What TV channel is Head On: Rugby, Dementia and Me on?

Thompson will talk about being diagnosed with early onset dementia in the documentary Head On: Rugby, Dementia and Me.

During the documentary, he shares how he thinks the game he loved so much damaged his brain and made him feel suicidal at his lowest moments.

He struggles to remember the names of his young children and is one of 210 ex-players taking legal action against World Rugby.

The documentary will air on BBC Two on Wednesday 5 October at 9pm and can be viewed on BBC iPlayer.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6347365/who-is-england-rugby-world-cup-steve-thompson-dementia/ Who is England Rugby World Cup hero Steve Thompson and when was he diagnosed with dementia?

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