Former England scrum-half on spearheading rugby’s brain injury campaign and his own struggles with anxiety and OCD

It feels as if Kyran Bracken is lacing his boots once more. He has a fresh purpose, a vital role as his sport prepares for the most critical challenge in its history. Rugby union is in chaos, its governors turning this way and that against the shadowy threat of brain injury, its players, past and present, unsure whether to be afraid or angry, cautious or belligerent.

Amid the chaos, it is the scrum-half’s role to navigate and communicate, the constant link between players of diverse types and mindsets. Bracken was one of the best. Now he finds himself at the heart of the current crisis, thrust forward as a spokesman for his generation, the first to pursue careers in full-time rugby union.

Related: ‘They are going to come after you’: a doctor’s advice on rugby’s battle over brain injuries

Date of birth: 22 November 1971

There lies the problem. It’s a mindset. There’s a gladiatorial role that all players have to take on just to be on the pitch

Related: Dan Scarbrough on rugby’s dementia crisis: ‘Somebody has to put their hand up and take responsibility’

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Source: Rugby – The Guardian