Johnny Sexton has an unsettling association with concussion but the out-half says he trusts the medical staff in the IRFU when they say that he can safely resume his rugby career.
Johnny Sexton was substituted eight minutes into Leinster's recent Champions Cup game against Wasps after a clash of heads. Initial reports indicated that Sexton had suffered another concussion which would have been his fifth in just two years.
But it later transpired that these claims were the result of some miscommunication between Leinster and the media.
The clarifications however, did nothing to halt the critics recommending that Sexton should consider his future and think about retiring from competitive rugby.
Johnny Sexton is fully fit says Joe Schmidt. He hasn't had any head injuries since last year according to the head coach.
— Rúaidhrí O'Connor (@RuaidhriOC) January 27, 2016
George Hook, among others, was particularly vocal about his concerns for Sexton as was Dr Bennet Omalu - the physician who inspired the film Concussion. On Newstalk's The Right Hook, Omalu said:
''If he was my brother, that would worry me. The human brain does not have any reasonable capacity to regenerate or heal itself, so once you suffer an injury, that injury is permanent.''
Johnny Sexton has since responded to these discussions and stresses that he has full faith in the IRFU medics who have given him the all clear to return to the pitch.
Johnny Sexton is SAVAGE af. Made the tackle while being treated then continue his treatment. ðŸ’ªðŸ‰ https://t.co/WdGqqaRg3b
— Afiq Diah (@afiqdiah) January 25, 2016
"We see the best neurologists and they tell us if we're going to play or not based on tests done by the best specialists. They examine you and those tests take bloody two or three hours, you know? My phone was off the hook. People asking was I okay, if I was retiring, if I had really bad issues and that's all from a person who's totally uneducated in the area speaking their mind about something they don't really know about."
Sexton undertook a 12 week break after suffering four consecutive concussions in 2014 which would add substance to the worry that his health is in danger. But in retrospect, Sexton says the break was for precautionary reasons.
''Even when they told me to take a break it was very precautionary. I probably didn't really, really have to take the break but they just said let's just take the break so you don't have any issues going forward."