May shares the sadness
There is a sombre mood around Hurricanes HQ at the moment.
Having a bye week meant there wasn’t a lot of rugby to think or talk about at the weekend, and the announcement of lock James Broadhurst’s retirement at the age of 29 due to concussion symptoms has given the players a lot to ponder.
Chiefly, what if that happened to me? It was something Hurricanes prop, and Broadhurst’s good friend, Ben May had been asking himself lately.
‘‘It’s a timely reminder to make sure things are in order off the field ... it’s just bloody sad.
‘‘We’re good mates and this is quite a positive, full-on environment and we live in this little bubble here where everything is going 100 miles an hour, to see your mate like that is not a nice thing.’’
Broadhurst enjoyed a breakout year in 2015 as a key figure in the Hurricanes’ Super Rugby campaign, but suffered a head knock in a Mitre 10 Cup match later that year while playing for Taranaki against Wellington. He has not played rugby since.
The one-test All Black has continued to suffer from headaches with medical specialists advising him to keep his heart rate below 120-beats-per-minute to avoid them. This made exercising - letalone playing rugby - practically impossible.
May said Broadhurst had an orchard in the Far North to keep him busy and had always been one to ensure he was well setup off the field, but had experienced concentration problems as he pursued further studies.
Last week’s news was keenly felt throughout the entire squad, May said.
‘‘Speaking on behalf of all the boys we’re really gutted. We were all very hopeful he’d come back and make a full recovery form the concussion. He’s tried bloody hard and done a lot of work with specialists and it just hasn’t been the case.
‘‘It’s affected us, I’ve played a lot of rugby with the big man. He’s been cut well short, in his prime, he got that one test out of the way and I’m sure he would’ve wanted to build on that.’’
May’s advice to other people out there with friends going through a similar experience was just to be there when they needed them.
‘‘Just being a mate to him, go and do things outside of rugby. He likes a bit of hunting and getting out and things like that, which has been limited because he’s been crook, but just being there for him and his partner.’’
Fellow Hurricanes prop Reggie Goodes continues his battle to clear concussion symptoms.
The prop missed the team’s 2016 playoff run after being unable to shake the effects of a concussion picked up during a round-robin match. He returned late in the Wellington Lions’ provincial season, but another head knock during a Hurricanes pre-season match in February meant he has not been sighted this season.
‘‘He’s in a similar place to where Broady was but not quite at the level,’’ Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said.
‘‘He’s getting to a point where he’s got no symptoms and then just pushes it that little bit further and the symptoms come back again.’’
Centre Matt Proctor was also moving through concussion protocols, but was much closer to a return that Goodes.
In other injury news, captain Dane Coles was a ‘‘50-50’’ chance to play in his team’s next match, against the Stormers on May 5, while Blade Thomson’s season is likely over with him probably needing a shoulder reconstruction, Boyd said.
Ben May on James Broadhurst Hurricanes teammates James Broadhurst and Ben May help Owhiro Bay residents clean up after the storm that hit Wellington in 2013.