Otago Daily Times
Sexton lashes out at concussion comments
AUCKLAND: Ireland rugby captain Johnny Sexton has criticised a French doctor about his concussion record as ‘‘highly inappropriate’’, ‘‘inaccurate’’ and ‘‘upsetting’’ for his family.
The first five was forced off for the final 10 minutes of Ireland’s Six Nations game against Wales at the weekend after suffering a head knock.
Speaking on French radio station RMC Sport, Dr JeanFrancois Chermann said he ordered that Sexton be stood down from rugby for 12 weeks due to repeated brain injuries during his time at Racing 92 in 2014.
The neurologist told RMC on Tuesday he believed the 35yearold had sustained around 30 concussions during his career and expressed concern about him rushing back into action.
But Sexton hit back at the comments.
‘‘I am pretty saddened and shocked by the inaccurate reports that were thrown out yesterday,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve been here before and it’s very frustrating. For me, I just think it’s totally inappropriate that a doctor that I have seen — many years ago now — felt it was appropriate to come out and talk to whoever it was and say those things.
‘‘It’s inaccurate and highly inappropriate and I am pretty disappointed but, for me, I am so used to it, it’s almost like water off a duck’s back, but for my wife and mum it’s very upsetting. But that’s the world we live in.’’
Dr Chermann has since admitted he ‘‘regrets the wrong he has done’’, as reported by the
‘‘As regards Sexton we cannot say for certain that he has had 30 concussions,’’ Dr Chermann said.
‘‘I should never have cited this figure without any explanation and I regret the wrong I have done to the player who was my patient and who I respect more than anyone.
‘‘To be clear if Sexton has not suffered a concussion for a year, that he is asymptomatic after 48 hours, that the tests carried out are good and that the returntoplay protocol has been carried out properly, then there is nothing to stop him from playing against France.’’
Sexton, along with Ireland vicecaptain James Ryan, who was also forced off at the Principality Stadium, is going through returntoplay protocols before Ireland’s Six Nations match against France on Monday.
‘‘I have to do another [protocol] today and another tomorrow and we’ll see how we go,’’ Sexton said.
‘‘I have just got to focus on this week and the return to play and if I don’t pass one of those stages, I won’t play. If I do, I will be fit to play and whether I play or not is down to the coaches then. I trust the medical guys here. They look after us incredibly well and I will continue to trust them.’’ —