The boss of Taranaki rugby says the plight of the '64 team will strike a chord with many in the province.
Michael Collins, who grew up in the province before making his career as a prop with Waikato and the Chiefs, said the province's Ranfurly Shield history still resonates with followers of the game.
"These guys are revered in the province," he says of those who fought for and defended the Shield. "The two most recent captains, Andy Slater and Craig Clarke, all the way back to your Burkes, your Browns, Wolfes and Urbahns, names like that.
"You go around supporters' clubs and grounds and everybody knows the stories of all the Shield games, the famous victories, the close calls and things like that."
Being a small, largely rural-based province, meant that a lot of people would have links to those who are suffering.
"A lot of us know them personally," Collins said. "We grew up in a small town with their sons and daughters so it's terribly sad.
"We try to retain really strong links with our past players. From that 1964 team we have Murray Wills as our vice-president. Peter Burke, our past patron, still drops into the office every week and [Ian] 'Legs' Eliason is our patron. Yeah, it is sad to hear about those guys [who are battling dementia]."
Radio Sport's Kent Johns talks to Brooke Wolfe, son of former All Black Neil Wolfe:
In recent years two Taranaki players, prop Shane Cleaver and lock Paul Tito, were forced to curtail their careers after suffering repeated concussions. Collins believed that was a sign there was a more mature approach to head injuries in the modern game.
"The concussion protocols that New Zealand Rugby have brought in are very robust," he said. "A lot more than it was even three or four years previously."