NRL premiership-winner Dan Mortimer admitted the thought of long-term repercussions as a result of head knocks is 'scary', not least following the public revelation his uncle Steve is battling dementia.
Steve Mortimer, rugby league royalty, was diagnosed with dementia in March, opening up about his condition on Monday in the hope of giving today's players a reality check amid the NRL's crackdown on contact with the head.
Although he didn't want to dwell on his uncle's diagnosis, Dan Mortimer, who is also Orange in NSW's Central West, CYMS captain-coach, did say it makes the issue 'more personal' not just for him but for the entire family considering they're all but synonymous with the sport.
It is scary on a personal level, I've been hospitalised a few times and had my share of head knocks.CYMS captain-coach and former NRL star Dan Mortimer
While he retired from the NRL just three years ago his father Peter and uncles Glen and Chris were top flight stars of yesteryear, while brothers Tim, James and Robbie all made headway one rung below the elite level.
"We had noticed a change in Steve's ability to recount and retain information which is one of the trademarks of dementia but to have it diagnosed is scary, it's pretty life-changing," Dan Mortimer said.
"They're still looking into how much of it is related to rugby league so we can't draw lines too quickly but with all the research around it now, it certainly leads you to believe it would have had an influence.
"It is scary on a personal level, I've been hospitalised a few times and had my share of head knocks.
"It's tough because I'm still young and still have that desire to compete, but I think young players in general probably forget to think longer-term."
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The hard line stance has divided the game with rumours the sport's biggest names are now plotting a revolt against NRL chair Peter V'landys, who refuses to budge after the crackdown began several weeks ago.
In the simplest of terms CYMS' mentor '100 per cent' supports the crackdown, agreeing it was an inevitable and necessary move, but expressed concern around the process behind it and inconsistencies in execution.
"It's a tough one, because I've obviously played at that level and been subject to the kind of contact they're cracking down on but I'm also a fan," he said.
"Players need to be protected from themselves, but at the same time there's been inconsistencies they need to sort out.
"Rugby league is a brutal sport, so they need to nail down on it because it's a high-speed, contact sport and there will always be accidental high tackles - they'll never eradicate it completely.
"I think two really important aspects of high contact are intent and carelessness, certainly when they're deciding what warrants a sin-bin or a send-off.
"I definitely support the crackdown in general, but it's those inconsistencies they need to sort out because right now what we've got isn't the game I fell in love with.
"Anything to protect players is a good thing, safety needs to be the focus, but they do need to think about the product because if no one watches it the game will die. It's a tough balance, I'm glad I'm not in control of it."
There are suggestions the introduction of the somewhat-maligned 'wrestle' has had an influence, and CYMS' mentor did explain players train to defend in a higher position to control the ball-carrier's ability to offload.
"There is zero intent to attack or control the head though, teams never trained to do that in my experience and I came through that wrestle era," he said.
"The wrestle is all about controlling the ball but I guess people do carry the ball on their chest or under their chin, so slipping or moving up does happen.
"But a lot of the more serious concussions I've seen have come from players tackling low, and getting their heads in the wrong position too."
The NRL's crackdown hasn't yet trickled down to the grassroots level of the game however the former Sydney Roosters and Gold Coast Titans utility said he expects it inevitably reach Group 10 soon enough.
"A lot of the calls are made by the NRL bunker which we obviously don't have at this level so it would be hard for referees to be much tougher than they are now," he said.
"High shots that are careless or reckless have always been punished pretty severely at every level and I'm sure they will continue to be but I think, yeah, we'll see something come in at the grassroots level soon enough."