Here's how close Johnny Sexton came to retiring in 2014

The out-half will feature today against France

Here's how close Johnny Sexton came to retiring in 2014

Brain Lawless / PA Archive/Press Association Images

While Irish fans will be primarily focused on the Six Nations tie with France today, worries about Johnny Sexton are always buried in the sub-conscious.

And why woudln't they be? Sexton suffered four concussions in 2014 which culminated in the Leinster star undertaking a 12 week lay-off such was the frequency of his head trauma injuries.

When he was deemed fit to play for Ireland last week, a slew of concerned comments streamed in, unconvinced that he was healthy enough to play. Sexton spoke publicly after that and assuredly said that the IRFU medical staff authorised his return to the pitch and effectively asked the uninformed commentators to ''back off.''

The general consensus among medical experts indicates that the likelihood of suffering a concussion increases with every concussion the athlete suffers. This was the case with Johnny Sexton and fresh information has emerged that indicates just how close Sexton came to announcing his retirement. 

A french neurologist who stopped Sexton from playing in 2014 told RugbyRAMA:

''After this period of rest and recovery in stages, everything went well and he did not re concussion. At the time, I told him he should be more worried if he remade a concussion in the three months after his return and then consider the end of his rugby practice."

Luckily for Sexton, he did not suffer any repeat concussions in 2015 and more recently, he did suffer blows to the head but neither were confirmed to be concussions, meaning he is still free to continue playing in accordance with the neurologist's advice.