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Summary

In 2003, England won the Rugby World Cup. Steve Thompson was there, in England's front row, at the heart of the match and at the heart of the scrum—one of sport's most destructive, repetitive impacts.

But the triumphs came at a cost. When rugby union turned professional, Steve was plunged into a game where raw power meant everything. Today, he remembers nothing about playing in that final. In his words, watching the tape back is like watching a ghost.

The years of hurt in an era of professional meat shields and the culture of sucking up punishment and coming back for more have taken a terrible toll. Steve has been diagnosed with early onset dementia and probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He is in his early 40s. There are days when he doesn't remember the names of his wife and four kids.

Unforgettable is part sports memoir—with stories contributed by his world-cup winning teammates and his former manager, Sir Clive Woodward—and part raw human storytelling. In it, Steve will make memories for himself and for his children, and will relive the biggest battle of his life, with his toughest opponent—his own mind.

Despite the constant reminders of what has been lost, and what is still to lose, Steve's powerful story is one of hope and courage. Unforgettable stands as testament to the ultimate strength of the human mind—and to a man no longer pushing himself to the limit for competition, but for his own place in the world.

©2022 Steve Thompson (P)2022 Bonnier Books UK

Critic reviews

"As brave as they come." (Gareth Thomas)

"So powerful. This book might just change the way you think about sports forever." (Sir Clive Woodward)

What listeners say about Unforgettable

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brilliant

love the story as an x player myself it brought home some truth to me.
your a legend Steve thanks for sharing your story

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Heartbreaking

As a life long lover of rugby this is a heartbreaking tale of a sporting great. So eye opening. I would recommend anyone who has played, watched or been involved in rugby or contact sports to have a listen and make yourself more aware.

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upsetting and scary

a insight into life after rugby. this brought me near to tiers and scared me as an ex player

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Brutally honest and enlightening story from Northampton legend

Couldn’t stop listening to Steve’s story and what an amazing tribute from his friends and family.
Even if you are not a rugby fan, this is still a book you should read/hear to learn more about the impact of contact sport on players minds as well as bodies.
Thank you for sharing your story Steve.

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Great read

100% recommend this, real eye opener into the life of rugby and dementia. Wish Steve all the best in his fight in the years ahead

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Outstanding. Simply Outstanding.

I've just finished Steve Thompson's book, 'Unforgettable'.

It. Is. Awesome.

Possibly the best sports autobiography of all time.

It shows the reality of elite sport in a raw and honest way.

As a former world champion professional sportsman, I can relate to so much.

The book demonstrates what is required to be the best in the world. From the necessary grind, discipline, determination, the creation of 'luck', taking of opportunities, the development into an elite athlete, the setbacks, genetics, aligning with the right people, the injuries, the business side, the effects on family, and to the deeply personal sacrifices and losses.

Becoming a world champion comes at heavy costs.

Most people don't realise how unprofessional 'professional' sport actually is - 'Unforgettable' lays it bare. .

It demonstrates sport failing in a duty of care, not just in respect to traumatic brain injuries, but injuries of all kind, eating disorders, and the difficult transition from sport back to 'normal' life again. Sport is privileged over health and wellbeing of its primary asset - the sportsperson themselves.

There are some incredibly hard-hitting lessons to learn for anyone involved in sport at any level.

Incredibly honest and endearing, this is awesome on Audible as his personality shines through, and there are a few guest speakers to recount the stories that Steve can't remember. This chapter was especially entertaining, and reminded me of the mischiefs of my own international trips, causing me to laugh out loud many times.

There are lots of laughs and smiles, Steve could have been a Royal Marine, using 'cheerfulness in the face of adversity'.

Simply outstanding.