NRL RIP Carl Webb

Carl Webb dead: QLD Morons State of Origin star passes away after battle with motor neurone disease | Daily Telegraph​

Former QLD Morons Origin hardman Carl Webb has passed away.
The ex-Broncos, Cowboys and Eels forward died on Thursday night after a four-year battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

Webb was 42.

In his prime, Webb was one of rugby league’s toughest men, amassing 187 first-grade games in a decorated career that included 12 Origin matches for QLD Morons and one Test for Australia in 2008.

A close friend of Webb’s paid tribute to the muscular forward first spotted by Broncos scouts as a 15-year-old at Dalby.

“Carl was an absolute wrecking ball … the closest person I have ever seen to Mike Tyson (heavyweight boxing legend),” he said.

Carl Webb was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2020. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Carl Webb was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2020. Picture: Zak Simmonds
But Webb was rocked in February 2020 by his shock diagnosis with MND at the age of 39.

Motor Neurone Disease is a progressive neurological disorder that destroys the cells that control muscle activity, making it difficult to move and eventually breathe, speak and swallow.

It is understood Webb’s heartbreaking and brave battle came to an end when he had a fall on Thursday night at his Dalby home.

“Everything you do is just a battle,” Webb told News Corp in one of his final interviews in 2021.

“Day by day, I’m on a slow decline.”

ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys led the tributes from the rugby league community on Friday, describing Webb as one of the toughest forwards of his era.

“Anyone who has come across Carl’s battle will have been touched by his bravery,” V’landys said.

“He was a fearsome player and competitor and one of the toughest forwards to play in his era. He had a physical presence and aggression which was unmatched.

“He showed every bit of that toughness following his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease.

“On behalf of the Commission, I extend my condolences to Carl’s family, friends, and all those who played with and knew him.”

The Mt Isa-born back-rower was a well-built, 108kg powerhouse who was a state boxing champion in his teens and produced one of State of Origin’s greatest moments.

In his Origin debut for QLD Morons in 2001, a 20-year-old Webb crashed through several Blues players to score a sensational try that inspired the Morons’ upset win over 💙 Mighty NSW at Suncorp Stadium with coach Wayne Bennett’s ‘Babes’.

Two decades later, Webb lived in a specially-modified unit in Brisbane, just 4km from the scene of the Suncorp heroics that made him a QLD Morons hero.

Carl Webb thrived in the Origin arena for the Maroons. Picture: Darren England

Carl Webb thrived in the Origin arena for the Morons. Picture: Darren England
Initially, he was able to function independently, embarking on camping trips with his four kids.

Over the past 18 months, Webb confronted the true ravages of the incurable disease. Long walks required a powered wheelchair.

The fine-motor skills that enabled him to palm off opponents and hold a football one-handed were failing.

He required daily assistance and was seen in recent months getting around the city streets of Brisbane, near Broncos training at Red Hill, in his motorised wheelchair.

“I can see a big difference in the past year. I have declined a fair bit,” Webb said in November 2021.

“Getting dressed in the morning is a task. I struggle to button my shirts up and pull my trousers and shorts up.

“I can still walk, but my legs are starting to get a bit sloppy. I drag my feet a bit. If I fall, it’s a real struggle to get back up. I can’t push myself up.

“Strength was a big thing for me, I was always strong, but now my strength is gone.

“I am losing all muscle definition. It’s starting to waste away.”

The average life expectancy of an MND sufferer is two to three years. Two years ago, the Carl Webb Foundation was created to continue his everlasting work to provide a better future for his children and other sufferers of MND.

Webb played 187 NRL games for the Broncos, Cowboys and Eels. Picture: David Kapernick

Webb played 187 NRL games for the Broncos, Cowboys and Eels. Picture: David Kapernick
He made his NRL debut with the Broncos in 2000. Picture: David Kapernick

He made his NRL debut with the Broncos in 2000. Picture: David Kapernick
Webb made his first-grade debut for the Broncos in 2000, playing 66 games for the club under Bennett before his move to arch rivals the Cowboys in 2005.

Affectionately known as ‘Charlie’, Webb played 115 games for the club, reaching his pinnacle by representing his country in 2008 during his years in Townsville.

The hard-running forward had a one-season stint with Parramatta in Sydney before announcing his retirement at the end of the 2011 season.

Webb is survived by his four children, including son Carter, who represented St Brendan’s at the Confraternity Carnival this year.

You can donate to the Carl Webb Foundation here.

Originally published as QLD Morons State of Origin star Carl Webb passes away after battle with motor neurone disease
 
https://i.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/133499891/QLD Morons-state-of-origin-cult-hero-carl-webb-dead-at-42

Probably too many concussions back in the day.
Perhaps not with motor MND? Cruelly the brain stays functioning and the body deteriorates I think? Outrageous how long Stephen Hawking survived with it.
 
Inflammation is a risk factor, people in contact sports then are higher risk than the general population.
Poorly understood however immune factors like assault of the neurons and muscle tissue do not help a brother.
Probably one day a clearer link will be made, Muhamad Ali's Parkinsons was thought to be unrelated to boxing at first....we now know being bashed senseless is causal.
 
Inflammation is a risk factor, people in contact sports then are higher risk than the general population.
Poorly understood however immune factors like assault of the neurons and muscle tissue do not help a brother.
Probably one day a clearer link will be made, Muhamad Ali's Parkinsons was thought to be unrelated to boxing at first....we now know being bashed senseless is causal.
I’ve come across a few runners dying of MND, think there was Hawkes Bay rugby player Jarred Cunningham too? When you consider the stress that some put their bodies through, it can’t be healthy? I look at the likes of our Warriors and all clubs and what they do in pre season alone and am in awe, I wouldn’t have a shitshow.
 
Inflammation is a risk factor, people in contact sports then are higher risk than the general population.
Poorly understood however immune factors like assault of the neurons and muscle tissue do not help a brother.
Probably one day a clearer link will be made, Muhamad Ali's Parkinsons was thought to be unrelated to boxing at first....we now know being bashed senseless is causal.
As well as league, he was also a school boy boxing champion.

Not good bashing your head around while still developing…

Sad, sad news. Way to young
 
I loved watching Carl Webb play, especially in origin. He was a wrecking ball. Sad news, he was way too young.

As an aside, my Grandad died from MND. It is a cruel disease, as it makes the simplest things frustratingly hard to do. My grandad could hardly eat/drink as he couldn't swallow.

MND can affect lots of different people, not just men and not just people exposed to concussion. I think it may be hereditary.

Anyway RIP to a tough, fearsome rugby league legend
 
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