I can vividly remember the young man who was the heartbreaking face of a largely preventable scourge that blighted rugby in NZ, and around the world, in the 1970s.
The 20-year-old, who broke his neck in a scrum in the early 80s, once confided in me his daily struggles in the aftermath. And it was tragic.
Some lives were lost, and some were ruined, with as many as nine catastrophic spinal cord injuries a year in New Zealand rugby in the years between 1973 and 1978.
Rugby is facing another medical crisis, with concussion, and the sad thing is that the masters of the game seem as pig headed and slow moving as they were in the late 1960s when a former All Black, Dr Hugh Burry, started urgently warning the International Rugby Board of the appalling damage being caused by poor scrummaging techniques.
Burry was no tinfoil hat-wearing nutjob, but a registrar at Guy's Hospital in London, and a consultant physician to the Sports Council of Britain.
Likewise Englishman Simon Halliday, who this week left his position as European Professional Club Rugby chairman deserves to be taken very seriously when he says that World Rugby is "sleepwalking its way towards disaster over brain injuries."
Like Burry, a gifted No 8 as a player, Halliday is no armchair warrior. He played 23 tests in the three-quarters for England, and 170 games for the powerful Bath club, finally retiring in 1992. As an administrator he's been on the board at Bath and the Harlequins, and on the council of The Rugby Union (aka the England Rugby Union).
So what Halliday said in an interview with the Telegraph in England should, at the very least, rattle the besuited smugness of the people running World Rugby.
"Change some laws fast," Halliday said. "Get on with it. Why are you waiting? I am sick and tired of hearing platitudes. Make some decisions. You can commission as many reports as you like, but all I know is that my wife won't let my boys play rugby. She is not a shrinking violet, but she says 'no way am I letting them play. Look at the head shots they take'."
As for World Rugby's recent announcement that it wants to limit contact training to a maximum of 15 minutes being advisory rather than mandatory?
"If they have the evidence why do not just act? What are you waiting for?"
Burry helped force the hand of World Rugby's forerunner, the International Rugby Board, by fighting establishment fire with fire, publishing a paper on neck injuries in the British Medical Journal, which finally drove the IRB to law changes.
It was still 1984 before the NZRU obtained permission from the IRB to change scrum engagement rules to the "crouch, bind, set" mantra now used throughout the world. Spinal cord injuries here were reduced by 70 per cent.
Now changes may be forced on World Rugby by a class action lawsuit in Britain, involving more than 175 former players, claiming World Rugby, and the English and Welsh unions, failed to protect the players from the risks of concussion.
The pity, and the shame, of the situation, is that decency and common sense should have moved rugby's leaders decades ago, when professionalism vastly increased the time training as a squad, and saw defensive patterns closely following the brutal efficiency of rugby league.
As one prime example, we've known for 50 years that the damage that leads to punch drunk boxers can be usually blamed more on sparring in the gym than on time fighting in a bout. How could full contact sessions at rugby training be considered to be different?
Hopefully Simon Halliday may have done rugby a favour it desperately needs.
On a much lighter note, but still with rugby officialdom, it's hard to get too offended by the fact the Wallabies, who finished second, get six players in a Rugby Championship XV selected by a panel picked by our old friends at World Rugby, while the All Blacks, who won, get five.
Let's remember that after the 2015 World Cup, won by an All Black team some of us believed was the best side, from any country, to ever win the Cup, World Rugby named as international coach of the year, not Steve Hansen, but Australia's Michael Cheika. For the record, Hansen's All Blacks beat Cheika's Wallabies, 34-17, in the final at Twickenham.