Monday 19 February 2018

Plenty of game time keeping Ulster's Marshall on his toes

Luke Marshall
Luke Marshall
David Kelly

David Kelly

After his well-publicised concussion trauma last spring, Luke Marshall is playing with a clear head -- and he has the numbers to prove it.

The gifted inside-centre has played more games than any other Ulster player this season as they prepare to tighten their stranglehold on Heineken Cup Pool 5 in Treviso this weekend.

Assuming he once again joins Darren Cave in midfield when the team is announced at midday, he will have started 14 of Ulster's 15 games, including the two pre-season friendlies against Leinster and Leicester Tigers.

"The only game I have missed is the Pro12 game in Llanelli against the Scarlets," enthuses 22-year-old Marshall. "It's the most rugby I have played in the last four years.

"I'm not feeling too bad at all. I was a little tired at the end of October, but the rest before the Scarlets game, then not being involved with Samoa international helped me enormously.

"I'm just happy to be fit and playing on a regular basis. You can live with tiredness."

Marshall's concussion issues last spring caused much controversy.

Ahead of the Brain Injury and Sport conference hosted by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland which begins today, IRUPA findings show that over 80pc of players rate concussion as an area of concern.

Only 5pc of those surveyed said that they had no concussion concerns at all and a further 13pc said they don't think about it.

The survey by the Irish Players' Union showed that 67pc of respondents had sustained a concussion during their playing careers, with 46pc experiencing 2-3 concussions.

Also, 64pc say they had been removed from the field of play following a suspected concussion.

In cases where players were removed from the pitch almost 90pc responded that the decision was made by the team doctor or medic, however further analysis showed that players felt they also had some level of responsibility themselves.

When asked if they had ever hidden or underplayed a concussion in order to return to the field of play, 45pc responded 'yes,' indicating a distinct lack of recognition of its seriousness in many cases.

Irish Independent

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