Bernard Jackman reveals he hid ‘vast majority’ of concussions last season

Bernard Jackman estimated he suffered 25 concussions in his final season with Leinster, the vast majority of which he hid from the team doctor.

Jackman played professional rugby for 13 years before retiring in 2010, having played for Connacht, Sale Sharks and Leinster at club level, while also earning nine caps for Ireland.

The Carlow man was forced into retirement aged 34, although at the time Jackman largely blamed his knees for the end of his rugby career, rather than the many concussions he suffered. he suffered.

Jackman has now detailed the extent of his concussion problems in his column for the Irish Independent, revealing he frequently hid all the symptoms from the Leinster team doctor in his final season.

Bernard Jackman on covering up his concussions.

“Unfortunately, in my last season, my ability to play or sometimes practice without concussion-like feelings was almost non-existent,” Jackman wrote.

“Even warming up and hitting a bag of gear often gave me a blinding headache – or I temporarily lost my balance, or felt like I was seeing the stars.

“My contact tolerance was so low that I felt like I could have been concussed in a pillow fight. I think I had about 25 concussions over the course of the last season.

“The vast majority of them I kept to myself and didn’t report to our team doctor, which was naive and stupid of me.

“Looking back, I was lucky to have lost my place as first-choice hooker and went from 19 games the previous two seasons to just eight in my last.”

‘I know…madness…a stupid way to behave.’

Luckily, Jackman has yet to suffer any serious long-term effects from the many concussions he suffered during his playing career.

He is of course painfully aware of recently retired rugby players reporting debilitating effects, such as dementia praecox.

However, the dangers of repeated concussions weren’t as well known when Jackman was still playing, and the former Leinster hooker explained how unfazed he was by head injuries.

“The problem was, the more concussions I had, the less scared or worried I was about them. I knew I just needed to buy some time,” Jackman explained.

“In a match, a lost contact lens (which I skipped), pretending to be out of breath, or a non-existent shoulder injury were all used to bring the physio onto the pitch to give me enough time. to regain my balance and play on I know… madness… a stupid way to behave.

Find out more about: Bernard Jackman, ireland rugby, leinster rugby

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