Head injuries in contact sport:
McCaw: ‘I was actually in a bit of a dark space. I didn’t want to talk about it’
The All Blacks captain says coming back from a concussion in 2004 was a difficult time.
INJURIES ARE REGULARLY cited as the worst part of being a professional rugby player, all the more so when concussion is involved.
Mental toughness is almost a pre-requisite for playing at the highest level of the sport, but that doesn’t mean rugby players don’t have doubts like everyone else.
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw opened up about his own struggles in recovering from serious concussion in 2004 when he spoke to Osher Günsberg on the ‘Movember Radio’ podcast.
The legendary openside flanker missed several months of the 2004 season on account of his issues with head injury, while he has also suffered concussion at other times during his career.
Dealing with those stints on the sideline is not easy, admitted McCaw in his chat with Günsberg, but the 34-year-old says the best way to come back from any injury is to have a clear programme for recovery.
The big thing I’ve learned is to actually have a plan in place for how you’re going to get to the point of either being back playing or fit again,” said McCaw. “But if you meander along, sometimes you keep thinking ‘I’m no better today than I was yesterday.’
“That can build up and get yourself into a hole.
“I actually went through a situation of that. Back in 2004 I had a concussion which, to be honest, was bad enough. Obviously concussion is not a good thing, but it was no worse than some people who recover quite quickly.
“But I started to doubt myself and it went on for a couple of weeks. Then I got myself in a loop where people were always asking; that frustrated me, and I got really short with people.
Read more of Richie’s story: