Saints forward Josh Kerr has made the stunning declaration he would “die for rugby league”, following comments made by former prop James Graham.

Dragons forward Josh Kerr has declared he would “die for rugby league”, following comments made by former prop James Graham.

Kerr, who was part of Queensland’s State of Origin squad last season, told reporters on Thursday he was willing to put it all on the line playing NRL, only days after his former teammate Graham said his rugby league career was worth dying for if in fact he ends up being diagnosed with a brain disease following several head knocks during his playing days.

“People that are worried about [the long-term effects of concussion] don’t play the sport,” Kerr told reporters.

“I know it might sound silly and a bit naive saying this, but I’d die for rugby league because [of] the people you meet, the places you go, the money you get paid … you can’t do this forever. I think you’ve got to be willing to die to play this sport.”

Graham revealed he’s prepared to accept whatever consequences that come his way post-career.

The impact of concussions has been a source of debate in the game recently and it went even further this week after Roosters co-captain Jake Friend suffered a head knock in his side’s opening round win over Manly. Friend’s playing future is in doubt after suffering mutliple concussions last season.

Teammate and Australian and NSW captain Boyd Cordner, will miss at least 12 games this season after multiple concussions last year.

It comes after a paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said one in five NRL players admitted to lying about likely concussion and symptoms to team officials during the 2018 or 2019 season.

The study’s lead author, Dr Tom Longworth, said the game needed more objective testing rather than relying on players to report issues.

The NRL has introduced a 11-day stand-down period for any player diagnosed with concussion.

They can only return sooner if they receive written clearance from a specialist concussion doctor.

NRL

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