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Doctor regrets making '30 concussions' claim about Sexton

The doctor who claimed Jonathan Sexton had suffered thirty career concussions has apologised for ...
Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

17.01 10 Feb 2021


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Doctor regrets making '30 conc...

Doctor regrets making '30 concussions' claim about Sexton

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Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

17.01 10 Feb 2021


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The doctor who claimed Jonathan Sexton had suffered thirty career concussions has apologised for his remarks. 

Dr. Jean-Francois Chermann made the claim in a conversation with French broadcaster, RMC Sport, saying, "I think Jonny Sexton has had somewhere in the region of thirty concussions in his career history, it's true that it's huge."

This elicited an angry response from the Ireland captain on Wednesday, who shot back, "I'm pretty saddened and shocked by the inaccurate reports that were thrown out yesterday.

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"We've been here before, and it's very frustrating.

"For me, I just think it's totally inappropriate that a doctor that I've 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."

Dr. Chermann worked with Sexton during the latter's time at Racing 92, and was the man who advised the out-half to take a 12-week break from rugby.

Perhaps with that in mind, Dr. Chermann has moved to clarify his remarks.

Again, speaking to RMC Sport, he said, "In this article it was important for me to make the public aware of the problem of concussions and their management.

"I did not want to address the case of a specific player in particular, but the case of a player who had just had an [alleged] concussion.

"And the procedure that had to be put in place following the neurological examination at 48 hours is paramount because it makes it possible to confirm the concussion and to say if the player is asymptomatic that he will be able to have a chance to play the following weekend as long as the return-to-play protocols went well and that the neuropsychological tests are good.

"Currently in France we recommend a minimum of 3 weeks off if the player has had a history of concussion of less than a year.

"There is also a problem with sub-concussions, which can be defined by a feeling of being struck for a few seconds, of seeing stars with disappearance of the symptoms in less than a minute without the appearance of other signs afterwards.

"However, these sub-concussions are frequent, for example in rugby for the props in the entries at a scrum or in football, when a player heads the ball.

"Regarding my interview on Sexton, I did not want to talk about thirty concussions but concussions and sub-concussions.

"And if you ask most rugby players, they will tell you that they have also suffered numerous concussions in their career, which moreover are hardly ever declared.

"For Sexton, we can therefore absolutely not speak of 30 concussions.

"I should not have cited this figure without any explanation, and I regret the damage I have done to the player who was my patient and whom I respect more than anything.

"And in my experience as a neurologist who has now studied over 1,500 concussed athletes, the most important impediments for recovery are: having concussions close together, the fact that the last concussion took a long time to go away (ie, several weeks) and the fact that the player is under 20 years old. Because there is an extremely serious risk of second impact syndrome.

"Clearly, if Sexton hasn't had a concussion for over a year, that he is asymptomatic at 48 hours, that the tests are good and that the recovery protocol has gone well, there is no contraindication to his playing against France."


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Concussion France Ireland Jean-Francois Chermann Jonathan Sexton

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