The Yorkshireman, 43, was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, early onset dementia and probable CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in December.
Bingley-born Scarbrough is the sixth player to confirm his diagnosis publicly with others including England’s 2003 World Cup-winning hooker Steve Thompson (42), ex-Leeds and Wales flanker Alix Popham (41) and former England back-row Michael Lipman (40).
He said: “I became involved to access specialist treatment and to gain an understanding of what was happening to me.
“One of the main drivers for this action, and for speaking out, is to help other former professionals gain access to elite level treatment and deal with injuries sustained throughout our careers, which is effectively cut off once you retire.
“The governing bodies have a responsibility to look after us post-retirement. Yet, prevention is better than cure; I also want to ensure there are clear measures in place to protect the game at grassroots level and continue to increase the safety of the sport, across all levels, particularly in relation to head injuries.
“The decision to stay on the field when you’ve had a knock, for example, shouldn’t ever rest with the player.”
Scarbrough, who says his biggest issue is memory loss, earned two Test caps and also played for Wakefield, Saracens and Racing Metro.
He is now head of rugby at Bradford Grammar School and said: “Thankfully, there’s much more awareness around the issue of concussions now, particularly in schools and discussions are ongoing with regards to how we make the game as safe as possible. I don’t want to see this great game of rugby eradicated just because of what I and other retired professionals are suffering with.”
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