Lambie 'out for the year'

29 June 2017 - 07:26 By Craig Ray
Pat Lambie. File photo.
Pat Lambie. File photo.
Image: Gabriele Maltinti/Gallo Images

Sharks and Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie's career is in the balance with reports suggesting he will miss the rest of the season because he is still struggling with concussion symptoms.

Lambie is only 26, but on Monday Sharks CEO Gary Teichmann said it was unlikely he would play again this year.

And who knows? He might never play again.

Considering Lambie has only played a handful of games since a serious concussion sustained last June in the first Test against Ireland at Newlands, this is a worrying development.

Lambie was felled by Ireland flank CJ Stander and did not play for four months.

Earlier this year Lambie suffered another head injury when he collided with his own player in a Super Rugby match.

He has not been on a field since.

While it is a desperately unfortunate situation for Lambie, it has again brought the serious issue of concussion under the spotlight.

World Rugby's head injury assessment protocols during matches, first implemented in 2012, are a massive step in the right direction and led to a higher number of concussion diagnoses.

But concussions are also increasing.

A study of the 2015-2016 Premiership season by the Rugby Football Union showed that concussions accounted for 20% of all injuries to the ball carrier and 47% of all injuries to the tackler (defender).

And those are just the incidents that have been diagnosed. Despite stringent controls, sometimes concussions are not spotted.

In recent months, concussion has ended the careers of several players in their prime.

One-Test All Black lock James Broadhurst called time on his career in April after failing to recover from concussion symptoms from an injury sustained in 2015.

Last October former Bok lock Alistair Hargreaves retired from the sport due to concussion-related issues at the age of 30.

That came only a week after Ireland prop Nathan White retired after failing to fully recover from a concussion sustained 15 months earlier.