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Ex-Wales flanker Alix Popham unable to recognise wife after Ironman head injury

03 Sep 2023 2 minute read
Alex Popham in action for Wales

Former Wales flanker Alix Popham has been taken to hospital after suffering a suspected concussion while competing at a triathlon, with the injury said to have left him unable to recognise his wife.

Popham is suffering from early onset dementia and probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy as a result of head injuries sustained during a 13-year rugby career.

The 43-year-old, who is among hundreds of former rugby players suing the game’s authorities over brain damage sustained during their careers, has regularly called for the sport to protect players from the long-term impact of concussion.

Lobby group Progressive Rugby described it as a “cruel and ironic twist of fate” that Popham had to withdraw from the Ironman Wales event in Tenby on Sunday.

“After months of intense training to raise money for concussion education and support, Alix has had to withdraw after suffering a suspected concussion from being kicked in the head during the swim,” Progressive Rugby posted on social media.

“Heart goes out to him.”

In a further tweet, Progressive Rugby added: “Alix was unable to recognize wife Mel as he came out of the water.

“Although dizzy and suffering a headache, he appeared OK but his condition has deteriorated and he is currently being transferred by ambulance to hospital. Updates posted with permission.”

The full Ironman Wales course involves a 2.4-mile sea swim, hilly 112-mile bike ride and full marathon to be completed within 17 hours.

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