Former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll says he hopes those involved in rugby can learn from the shortcomings of the past.
It comes after it was revealed England World Cup winner Steve Thompson has been diagnosed with dementia at the age 42.
He is now among a group of ex-players taking legal action against rugby union authorities, claiming the sport has left them with permanent brain damage.
All eight have been diagnosed with early stages of dementia.
Speaking on The Hard Shoulder, Brian says there have been massive changes in the sport since he started playing in the late '90s and early '00s.
He said: "I want to preface it by saying that what World Rugby have done, the unions have done, and different competitions have done so 2003 has been a huge step forward in the right direction.
"Gone are the days... where it was seen as heroic to get a knock on the head, stand up, stumble back into the defensive line, and try to make another collision or hit.
"It's crazy to think that was not that long ago. To go to where we were then to where we are now is a massive leap in the right direction."
He believes there's still work to be done, and that those affected by the issue seem to be in very difficult situations.
He said: "I'm interested to hear what comes of the findings, and hearing a little more before I give too many soundbites. But it's not what the game needs to hear.
"As a parent who would be hopeful that either of their kids might go into rugby - and any parents choosing what sport their kid might play - it's definitely going to be a turn off for them.
"But I hope we get something positive out of it, and if nothing else that we're going to learn in a major way from the shortcomings 15 years ago of where the game needs to go in the future."