All Blacks duo Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty have shared their struggles with concussion, sending a message to any player who may be experiencing the same.
Smith and Crotty’s brushes with concussion hasn’t only seen them spend time away from the game – but has also heightened their knowledge on the specialist injury.
Despite having missed the Crusaders last couple of Super Rugby matches due to concussion, Crotty is confident he’s up to test match standard.
The midfielder has been concussed twice this year and twice last year but says he monitors his recovery carefully and has his brain function tested every year to ensure there’s no long-term effect on his mental capability.
The All Blacks play their first test of the year against France in Auckland on Saturday night and Crotty says while not having played for a few weeks, the way in which he tackled his injury means he can play at his full potential.
“Last couple weeks off but I did what needed to be done to get right,” says Crotty.
“Basically just rest until you have no symptoms and once you have no symptoms you can train again and gradually increase the intensity whether that’s lifting weights, running and contact.
“That’s the process I have been through over the last couple of weeks… I’m fresh and excited.”
All Blacks co-captain Ben Smith is no stranger to overcoming concussion and in his first test back after a four month sabbatical has a message for young players.
Smith suffered a serious head knock during the second British & Irish Lions test – two weeks after a previous concussion injury which prompted a four month break after the Bledisloe Cup.
The utility was eventually diagnosed with vertigo and says he returns to the All Blacks more knowledgeable and encourages players to show maturity and honesty if they experience the same.
“The big thing is a lot of them are different, for me I had a few things that actually led to vertigo whereas you get different symptoms,” says Smith
“You’ve got to listen to your body and what it’s doing and probably be honest with the doctor and go from there and make a plan.
“If you’re not the best person to be out there doing that role the good thing is within the team there is someone who can nail that role.”