NRL legend Wally Lewis on how he wants to be remembered – as he opens up about his father’s dementia battle
NRL legend Wally Lewis reveals how he would like the football world to bid him farewell as he dies as he opens up about his father’s heartbreaking battle with dementia
- Rugby league great Wally Lewis doesn’t want dementia to be a taboo subject
- Comes as his father Jim Lewis is battling the disease in his 90s
- Lewis, 63, wants to wear his Queensland Origin jersey when he dies
- He emphasized that while death talks are always difficult, they should be conducted
NRL great Wally Lewis has revealed how he wants footy fans to remember him after his death: laid to rest in the Queensland shirt he made famous.
Not at death’s door, Lewis puts plans into action after watching his father, Jim, battle with dementia.
‘The King’ is preparing for a similar personal diagnosis after suffering a series of blows to the head during his legendary rugby league career.
Significantly, of the list of rugby league’s 13 immortals, only three remain alive. Lewis is the oldest at 63, ahead of Mal Meninga (62) and Andrew Johns (48).
NRL great Wally Lewis has revealed how he wants footy fans to remember him when he dies
Rugby league star Wally Lewis (pictured, playing for the Kangaroos) also doesn’t want dementia to be a taboo subject for Australians
Lewis has already spoken to his family – and has confirmed he wants to wear his Queensland state of origin jersey (pictured in 1990) when he dies
The likes of Norm Provan and Johnny Raper have left in recent years – and both suffered from dementia.
It’s precisely for this reason that Lewis wants the topic not to be taboo, given that there are an estimated 500,000 people living with the disease as of July 2022, according to Dementia Australia.
The all-time classic said he and his siblings noticed their dad repeating himself a few years ago.
“We were going around there and he was always like, ‘How are Jacqui and the kids?’ And I’d say, ‘They’re good, Dad,'” Lewis told news.com.au.
“He would say, ‘Do you want to watch TV, do you want a cup of tea?’ Then he said, “How are Jacqui and the kids?”
“He would ask me 150 times.”
Lewis is considered one of the greatest rugby league players of all time, with ‘The King’ a dominant force in the State of Origin arena for Queensland
Of the list of rugby league’s 13 immortals, only three are still alive. Lewis is the oldest at 63, ahead of Mal Meninga (62) and Andrew Johns (pictured left)
Lewis said that although conversations about death are difficult to have, once the date comes, loved ones’ wishes can be met by putting everything on the table.
Lewis has already spoken to his family – and has confirmed he wants to wear his Queensland state of origin jersey when he is retired.
It comes after he also underwent brain surgery after suffering a seizure while reading the news in 2006 – and playing with epilepsy during his football career.
Over the next few years, the Channel Nine identity also wants concussions to be kept to a minimum in the NRL – and illegal contact with the head banned outright.
“Don’t wait around. It has to be done to ensure that the game is fun, not only for the people in the stands but also for those entertaining in the shirts out on the field,” he said.
Lewis added his former teammates feel privileged to have played the sport at the highest level, but many “wish they could have done so without suffering serious headbutts”.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/nrl/article-11608149/NRL-legend-Wally-Lewis-wants-remembered-opens-fathers-dementia-battle.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 NRL legend Wally Lewis on how he wants to be remembered – as he opens up about his father’s dementia battle