"An endless hangover" - Concussion problems in rugby 'getting worse' with star retiring aged 26 - Ruck

“An endless hangover” – Concussion problems in rugby ‘getting worse’ with star retiring aged 26

At Durham the UK Rugby Health Project has been working on a study of a group of 189 retired rugby players, 83 of them elite, 106 amateur, 145 from union, 44 from league.

When it published its recent review of the mental health and wellbeing of the group the lead author, Karen Hind, explained why so many retired players had signed up with the project in the first place.

“People wanted to take part because it felt like a good way to get an MOT on their bodies.”

Below, we look at five rugby stars who were forced to step down, considered retirement or hung up their boots altogether due to concussion in 2021/22.

#1. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)Returned after lay-off

The All Blacks, who has twice been named world player of the year, was sidelined after taking a blow to the face during an attempted tackle on Ireland’s Andrew Conway back in November.

The incident resulted in a nasty concussion, and the symptoms were so severe that the 30-year-old admits he considered hanging up his boots.

He told French publication, XV Mondial : “For two weeks, things have been much better. But throughout the off-season, I had migraines, 80 to 90 per cent of the time. Today, it tends to fade, they have become rarer.

“I will gradually resume contact training, I hope to play again in three weeks against the Chiefs. I thought it might be the end of my career. When you feel sluggish 99 per cent of the day, trying several ways to get better, but nothing works, you assume the worst.

“And then you hear about teammates who have to end their careers because of concussions, it’s more and more frequent. I thought it was my turn.

“You learn to get used to small headaches, a bit like a mild hangover. It’s very frustrating because when you wake up, in principle, you should feel refreshed and ready.”

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