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I’ve been a bit down, not really sleeping well and getting headaches
MARLOW RFC captain Jack Rider is taking an open-ended break from rugby after suffering five concussions in the past year.
At the same time, a significant deterioration in his general mood prompted a visit to the doctor and while there is no conclusive proof, the suspicion is that the two are linked.
He said: “In the last year or so I’ve suffered five concussions.
“I’ve not really been myself either lately so I went to the doctor to see what was going on and although it’s not officially to do with that, he thinks it could be linked with those concussions.”
As a scrum half, Rider might have expected to be spared some of the more bruising collisions in the sport. But he admits his style of play puts him in harms way.
He said: “I play a physical style of rugby and put myself in positions where I could get hurt.
“After one concussion I lost the feeling in my left hand. I went for a brain scan but nothing showed up.
“They think it was just a trapped nerve in my neck.”
Rider soon returned to the field and played a key role in a stunning comeback against Grove, when they battled back 23-0 to win 26-23.
But that was his last game. Instead of being on a high after such an heroic win, Rider hit his low point at the club’s Halloween party.
He said: “I’ve been a bit down, not really sleeping well and getting headaches.
“At work I’m more irritable and getting worked up easily.
“That’s not me at all, I’m quite a laid back guy. I thought it was just because I was a bit stressed but it could all be down to those knocks to the head.
“It all came to a head that week at the Halloween party. I just lost the plot with my girlfriend. Nothing really sparked it but I just saw red. That really isn’t me and everyone was a bit shocked by it.
“My family was really embarrassed but it made me realise something wasn’t right. I can remember everything that happened and it’s quite scary.”
A visit to the doctor followed and since then he has been keeping a diary of his moods before a return visit to the doctor next month.
He said: “I’m keeping a diary of how things go for the next few months then we’ll reassess the situation.”
Wasps scrum half Nic Berry has recently retired from rugby after nine concussions in one year and at the time admitted that he has no idea if he has suffered any long-term damage.
It’s an uncertainty Rider can relate to.
He said: “I’m 24, so I’m quite young still. I am a little bit worried, but I do feel a lot different to how I felt a few months ago.
“I felt so low then but there has definitely been a change for the better and I’m still hopeful of getting back into rugby.
“I miss it.”
Concussion in rugby has been a hot topic lately, with research into long-term brain damage of some American Footballers first setting alarm bells ringing.
Only in August the National Football League reached a £480m settlement with former players, with the money going towards concussion-related compensation, medical exams and research.
Rider said: “Clubs are a lot more concerned about it than they were six or seven years ago and Marlow have been fantastic.
“Everyone has been so supportive at the club.”
However, it remains a grey area and Rider says that while that’s the case there will always be a temptation to play on.
He said: “Perhaps I didn’t always have enough of a break.
“You’re meant to have three weeks and I wouldn’t want anyone to go out and play again before three weeks, it’s not worth it.
“But maybe it needs to be longer than that, it depends on how severe your concussion is.
“It’s so tempting though, especially when clubs are struggling for players. But you’ve got to be strong and do what is right for you.”
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