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England captain Dylan Hartley says concussion could end his career

  • England captain Dylan Hartley has said that one more concussion would make him consider his future in rugby
  • The 30-year-old Northampton Saints hooker has missed 14 weeks this season because of head injuries
  • Hartley returned to action this month after being knocked unconscious during the Six Nations in March
Dylan Hartley, the England captain, admits his playing career could be over if he sustains one more concussion injury.

Hartley has already missed 14 weeks this season after being twice knocked unconscious and admits that a third serious head injury could force him to consider a future away from the sport.

“If I got another one now, I would be worried,” Hartley said.


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“I would probably start looking at other careers or stuff like that, or maybe a long lay-off. Maybe I [need to] look at my tackling technique, too.

“It’s not something I fear. It is something you deal with when it happens. I won’t go into the weekend worrying about it and feel strong and fit. I feel confident in my head and have tested it out a few times.”

Hartley, who admitted to not remembering lifting the Six Nations trophy at the Stade de France back in Match, admitted his concern about a potential third head injury was based on medical advice as well as discussions with his family.

“I just had a constant reminder every time that you see your kid and you think, ‘If I hit my head again, what’s that going to mean?’” Hartley added. “Three in one season would warrant a bit of time off, take a step back and have a minute. Ask me when it happens.”



Hartley, who had previously described his rehabilitation from his second concussion as like being stuck in purgatory, yesterday revealed the extent of his debilitation.

“I’d wake up in the morning, have breakfast and go back to bed, or go into the club, attend a few meetings and go back to bed,” he added. “I just didn’t have any get up and go. It’s really weird.

“I actually went out to my bike at home, I thought, ‘right, it’s been a month now and I’ve done absolutely f-all, I’m going to go and get on my Watt bike’. I put all my kit on, put my water bottle on – and I just couldn’t get on the bike. I’d no urge to get on the bike. I almost tried forcing myself to get on the bike and I just said, ‘I can’t be bothered’, went back to lie on the coach and went to sleep. Then I knew that I wasn’t right. I think it took six to seven weeks to get over.”