Pat Shaw isn't backward about coming forward on his potential health issues in later life.
In an insightful and sometimes confronting discussion as part of The Courier's Off The Record podcast series, the former professional cyclist opens up on concussion and how it could prove debilitating in the years to come.
Shaw says he has sustained 13 "diagnosed" concussions during his life - and believes there's been many more - and is bracing for an onset of dementia down the track.
Listen to the podcast with Pat Shaw here.
It's a frightening admission from the 34-year-old father of two, who retired from the sport in 2016 after a long and successful career. He now works as a commentator and in the family's shop, Shaw's Cycling Centre on Skipton Street.
Shaw said he has had, and will continue to have, medical analysis on his brain.
"I'm (currently) all clear - it's quite a breath of fresh air. But I have really come to terms that probably at some stage in my life I'm going to suffer a form of dementia because of the trauma I've caused my brain," Shaw said.
"It's not that I'm happy to accept it, but I've grown to see that it's probably going to be something that I'm going to have occur in my life.
"It's a difficult thing to think about. I'm 34 now."
Listen to all previous episodes by clicking the image below.
Shaw believed the sport of cycling had made progressions in terms of how it treated concussion following the fall of Toms Skujins during the Tour of California in 2017. Skujins attempted unsuccessfully to get back on his bike and even walked into oncoming riders as they roared down a descent.
"It was at that point it was a realisation a protocol was required," he said.
"In my era of cycling, and many eras before me for sure, even worse in those eras, the health checks weren't great and you'd just get back on and race. You would race as if nothing had happened because if you didn't then you were seen as one of the softer ones."
Shaw believes the effects of concussion linger longer than many people think and that the brain injury contributes to some forms of "mental instability".
The latest podcast follows last week's episode Concussion: Football's Black Hole and is now available for digital subscribers at thecourier.com.au.
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