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AFL great Danny Frawley suffered CTE: report

Danny Frawley. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
31st August, 2020

St Kilda great Danny Frawley was suffering from the neurological disorder, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, at the time of his sudden death.

Frawley’s wife Anita said an analysis of the former Richmond coach’s brain showed signs of Stage II CTE.

The former Saints captain died in a car crash in September last year, the day after his 56th birthday.

Anita said the Victorian coroner was yet to release the official report, but wanted to speak out about it immediately to help others.

“This is an issue for the community, it is not about a particular sport or sports, we need more research to diagnose and assist people living with the disease,” she told the Herald Sun.

“As his wife for over 30 years, I strongly suspected there was more going on with Danny than straightforward depression.

“I am very grateful for the work of the Australian Sports Brain Bank in shining a light on this disease.”

Frawley is the second prominent Australian football figure to be diagnosed with CTE, a degenerative condition linked to concussions and brain trauma.

In February it was revealed legendary Geelong ruckman Graham “Polly” Farmer was suffering from Stage III CTE when he died last year following tests on tissue from his brain at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.


CTE can only be diagnosed after a person’s death.

Frawley, also a leading media figure after his coaching career finished, spoke publicly about his mental health battles in years leading up to his death.

If you or anyone you know needs support call Lifeline on 131 114, or Beyond Blue on 1800 512 348.