| -1.1°C Dublin

rugby row 'Highly inappropriate' - Johnny Sexton hits back at French doctor in concussion row

Close

Johnny Sexton was forced off in the latter stages of Ireland’s defeat in Wales last weekend. Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile

Johnny Sexton was forced off in the latter stages of Ireland’s defeat in Wales last weekend. Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile

Johnny Sexton was forced off in the latter stages of Ireland’s defeat in Wales last weekend. Photo: Gareth Everett/Sportsfile

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has branded comments from a French doctor about his concussion record “inaccurate” and “highly inappropriate”.

The fly-half is going through return-to-play protocols ahead of Sunday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with France after suffering a head knock in the weekend defeat to Wales.

Neurologist Dr Jean-Francois Chermann, who recommended Sexton be stood down from rugby for 12 weeks when he was a Racing 92 player in 2014 due to repeated brain injuries, said the 35-year-old had sustained “30 concussions” throughout his career.

“I am pretty saddened and shocked by the inaccurate reports that were thrown out yesterday,” said Sexton.

“It’s inaccurate and highly inappropriate and I am pretty disappointed but I am so used to it, it’s almost like water off a duck’s back to me, but for my wife and mum it’s very upsetting.”

Sexton said he remains on course to be fit to feature against France and has full trust in Ireland’s medical staff.

“I have just got to focus on this week and the return to play and, if I don’t pass one of those stages, I won’t play,” he said.

“If I do, I will be fit to play and whether I play or not is down to the coaches then.

“I trust the medical guys here, they look after us incredibly well and I will continue to trust them.”

Meanwhile, one of the French neurologists who made serious claims about Johnny Sexton's health has rowed back on his comments and apologised to the Ireland captain.

Dr Jean-François Chermann, who stood down Sexton for 12 weeks in late 2014 on the back of concussion-related issues, says he regrets making particular remarks regarding a previous patient of his.

“Regarding my interview on Sexton, I didn't want to talk about 30 concussions but concussions and sub-concussions,” Dr Chermann said.

“And if you ask most rugby players, they will tell you that they have also suffered many concussions in their careers, which by the way are hardly ever reported.

“For Sexton, we can therefore absolutely not speak of 30 concussions. I should not have quoted this number without any explanation and regret the damage I have done to the player who has been my patient and whom I respect more than anything.

“And in my experience as a neurologist who has now followed over 1,500 concussed athletes, the most important contraindications for recovery are: having concussions close together, the fact that the last concussion took a long time to go away (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 has not had a concussion for over a year, he is asymptomatic at 48 hours, the tests are good and the recovery protocol has gone well, there is no contraindication to his playing against France."

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Press Association


Top Videos





Privacy