Former NRL star Willie Mason has called on the government to put more funding into research on the effects of concussion and head trauma in sport.
Mason, who represented Australia and NSW, has questioned whether NRL players are being used as crash-test dummies to see what future impact repeated concussions can have on their health in later life.
Last month ex-NRL prop Ian Roberts revealed he has brain damaged cause by concussions he suffered playing first-grade rugby league.
Mason said more research needs to be done to determine what exactly repeated head injuries from the sport can cause.
"Do we have to be the dummies, walking around and forgetting our names in 10 years?" he told web TV show Unfiltered.
"The government has to put in money ASAP to do all this research and get on top of it now. I don’t want us to be that generation, or the guys that played in the 90s or the 2000s because the head trauma is real.
"Let’s not sugarcoat it – some of our mates’ memories weren’t too good at the start compared to what they are now.
"I don’t want it to be the next one in 10 years, when we’re 50 or 60 or whatever, to have one of our mates that played in the same generation or generation before to be nearly brain dead."
Despite concerns over concussion, Mason said there remains a huge difference between head knocks suffered in the NRL level and those in the junior game.
"As a young parent watching their kids play, I don’t think they should be scared of playing rugby league," the 37-year-old said.
"Obviously they have a lot different rules for young kids compared to what the big boys play."