Home | News | Budget boost into dementia research on the cards after sporting legend’s plea for support
Wally Lewis talked about living with CTE and called for more research into dementia. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Martin Ollman

Budget boost into dementia research on the cards after sporting legend’s plea for support

The federal government will direct more funding into dementia and brain injury research in the May budget following an impassioned plea from rugby league legend Wally Lewis.

Mr Lewis, who was diagnosed with suspected CTE in 2023, urged the federal government to support more clinical research into brain diseases after revealing his own struggle with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) on Wednesday.

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells pledged to back the 68-year-old sporting immortal’s call on Wednesday.

“As Queenslanders know innately in our blood that bleeds maroon that Wally Lewis is king, and the king gets it right most of the time, and he’s right about CTE,” Ms Wells told reporters.

“That’s why we’re going to back him and we’re going to have more to say about that in the budget.”

“Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia. It is something that we need to know more about and something that we need to do more about.

“It’s certainly something that parents when considering a choice of sport for their kids are worried about.

“We need to keep that confidence, we need to keep people having their kids actively participate in sport so we’re going to say more about that.”

The former Maroons captain asked the government to commit $18m to fund national support and research programs into CTE during a candid speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday.

Mr Lewis said living with CTE, a form type of dementia associated with repeated head injuries, concussions or sub-concussions, has significantly impacted his daily and professional life.

“My everyday life is no longer blessed by confidence in my daily activities. Now I struggle to accept that it has been filled with fear and embarrassment about how forgetful I have become every single day,” he said.

“I don’t want anyone to have to live with the fear and anxiety that I live with every day of my lifetime.”

More than 400,000 Australians live with dementia, with 70 per cent of aged-care residents living with moderate to severe cognitive impairments, including dementia.

That number is estimated to jump to 900,000 in the next 25 years, with the recent Intergenerational Report estimating Australia's older population to triple.

New data by Dementia Australia estimates 812,500 by 2054 if there is no medical breakthrough.

Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the top stories in our weekly newsletter Sign up now

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *