Sunday 22 September 2019

Dundon allays fears over concussion

Zane Kirchner, pictured during squad training this week, will make his 50th appearance for Leinster tonight
Zane Kirchner, pictured during squad training this week, will make his 50th appearance for Leinster tonight
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster have suffered their fair share of concussions lately but Aaron Dundon believes that it is merely a case of bad luck as opposed to a serious tackling technique issue.

Dundon has missed the last few weeks of action after he picked up a concussion in the win over Glasgow, while Sean O'Brien, Richardt Strauss and Mike McCarthy were all forced off early in the defeat to Wasps two weeks ago.

On the back of the retirement of Kevin McLaughlin earlier this season as well as the fact forwards coach John Fogarty also prematurely called time on his career, Dundon admitted that the Leinster players are only too aware of the severity of concussion.

"Kev was getting a few over a long period of time. Against Wasps, it was just one of those things," the hooker maintained.

"Sometimes you get a lot at one time and then you might not get one for a while. I think we've had our fair share of them now so fingers crossed.

"I chatted to John and Kev about it and they both said 'look, just don't rush back, take your time. There's a long way to go in the season, you don't have to rush back. If you do, you could be out for longer.'

"My symptoms lasted for quite a while, probably because I was trying to push myself to get back because I knew I was playing well and there was a chance for me to keep playing.

"In fairness to John and the medical staff, they don't let you push on too quickly. If you're getting symptoms during one stage, you go back a step. It's good, I was a bit naïve before."

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Dundon revealed that he had also suffered a knock to the head in training prior to the Glasgow game which did make him seek out medical advice.

The New Zealander, however, is adamant that the return to play protocols are sufficient to avoid any longer-lasting effects.

"Just talking to the medical staff, the protocols they have in place now just make you feel so much better about it," he said.

"The return to play protocols are very good compared to what they were five or six years ago. The stages you go through, you've got less to worry about now.

"I think it's different for everyone. Some will be bad tackle technique. Mine was just unlucky. It's not the same occurring reason for it.

"The medical staff have been really good. They've given me an extra few weeks. I've cleared my return to play protocols a couple of weeks ago but they wanted to give me a few extra weeks to make sure that it doesn't happen again."

Dundon had been enjoying a run in the first team prior to suffering concussion and he admitted that he is now playing catch-up to the likes of James Tracy, who has performed well in recent weeks.

"It was just frustrating because I felt I was going well and I was getting a bit of game time with the boys coming back from the World Cup. It was just a bad time," he said.

"I've just got to train away and put my hand up. If I have to get a club game or a B&I Cup game to put my hand up again, it's what I'll do.

"The fringe players, we've just got to keep fighting for our place. We've got to show up to training and put pressure on the guys who are going to be playing. We're all in it.

"They're hugely disappointed (with poor form). We're all gutted about it, not just the guys who played. We all are. We just have to turn it around now.

"It's the Pro12 now. We need to win against Ulster. It's a big game and no better one to bounce back."

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