Thursday 23 March 2017

Rest vital in handling concussion -- Smith

THE retirements and revelations of Leinster hookers John Fogarty and Bernard Jackman have made concussion a hot topic in Irish rugby and it was interesting to canvas the views of New Zealand centre Conrad Smith this week, who revealed that he gets concussed "once or twice" a year.

One of the major problems with this issue has been the pressures of the professional game seeing players putting their personal welfare at risk, and Smith says the onus is on individuals to make mature and responsible decisions.

"Concussion is always there and rears up every now and again," said Smith. "We've had players, luckily only the odd one, who are forced to retire for those reasons. Myself, I seem to have one or two a year and Richie (McCaw) has had his issues -- it's pretty scary stuff.

"Sometimes, I'll go down in contact and be back up straight away but the other ones ... I had one during the Super 14 where I carried on playing when I was totally groggy.

"The doctors are good, they pulled me and I had a couple of weeks off and you have to be mature about it and judge what's best for yourself. It comes with experience, you have to take the emotion out of it and deal with it clinically in conjunction with the medical staff."

Irish Independent

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