Challenging For Positive Change - Alix Popham Interview

We sat down with Alix Popham, former Wales International back-rower to discuss health, rugby, bike challenges and the future.

Alix took a hit back in 2020 at age 40 when he got diagnosed with probable CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and early-onset dementia as a result of repetitive traumatic brain injury he suffered in his rugby career. In this video, Alix talks about how the diagnosis changed his life, what’s happened since and how we can all get involved in raising awareness.

You will hear Alix talk about how it all started and what the first signs were that something wasn’t right. He tells us how he was losing his memory, had a constant lack of concentration, his mood changed, and he suffered with social anxiety.

After the diagnosis, Alix knew he had to learn to live with the circumstance he found himself in and change his life to suit. Alix tells us about introducing a daily routine of exercising, diet and mindset, all of which help him to get through each day.

Alix talks about there being no aid or assistance out there after the discovery of his illness, which was the reason Head for Change was born, to help other ex and current sports personalities in the same situation. Head for Change is a start-up, charitable foundation focussed on brain health in sport and offers help and support to all those that need it, and their families.

Head for Change concentrates on three pillars - the Sport, the independent research, and the education, which Alix says is key from grass roots right up to elite level. Everyone can get involved in the Head for Change challenges at any fitness level and everyone can work together to raise funds to help all those involved in the sport we love. 

The MESOA Team are incredibly excited to join forces with Head for Change on this incredible fundraising challenge. This year will be the second Rugby Ride Challenge after a staggering £58,000 was raised in the inaugural event, and you can join Alix and many other international sports personalities and help support the cause, whilst keeping fit and having fun!

Alix is already making a difference. People are talking about his story all over the world and if he can help just one person, he’s happy. There’s a long way to go in getting Head for Change available to the masses, and we need your help in reaching this goal. You can sign up to the 2022 Rugby Ride Challenge here and follow them on social media for regular updates. See you at the start line!