Next LIVE rugby on TV
to be announced
Wed, 31 Jul 2013 14:30:05 +0000
  • Switch Edition
ESPN SCRUM / Top 14 Orange 2013-14 / News
Follow@ESPNSCRUM
The concussion debate
Hape: Players are treated like pieces of meat
ESPN Staff
June 2, 2014
Shontayne Hape in action for England. He has sounded a warning against the dangers of concussion © Getty Images
Enlarge

Former England centre Shontayne Hape has accused coaches of treating players like "pieces of meat" after finally announcing his retirement from rugby.

Hape also sounded a warning against the dangers of concussion after being forced to call time on his playing career because of a series of head injuries.

Hape's last professional game was for Montpellier last year and, although he received medical advice to quit the sport in January, he has only just revealed his decision to retire and the shocking reasons for it.

Hape, 33, claims he was often put under pressure to return to action after head injuries before he was ready. He suffered more than 20 concussions and was frequently knocked out during his career, including several times in succession during the 2012-13 season at Montpellier. Subsequent scans revealed his brain function had been reduced to just above that of someone with special needs and he was advised to retire.

"Things got so bad I couldn't even remember my pin number - my card got swallowed up twice. My memory was shot," Hape told the New Zealand Herald. "The specialist explained that my brain was so traumatised, had swollen so big, that even just getting a tap to the body would knock me out. I had to retire immediately.

"I was thinking I'd rest for a year and then make a come back. That's why I never told anyone I was retired. I still couldn't accept it was over.

Hape, who won 13 caps for England, felt symptoms such as constant migraines, sensitivity to light and sound, irritability, depression and memory loss.

"There was constant pressure from the coaches [to play]," he said. "Most coaches don't care what happens later on in your life. It's about the here and now. Everyone wants success. They just think, 'If we pay you this you are going to do this'. Players are just pieces of meat. When the meat gets too old and past its use by date, the club just buys some more."

Hape also claimed that players regularly manipulate cognitive tests that are designed to monitor their brain functions throughout the season.

"In England it is a standard procedure for all players to perform a computerised pre-season head test. The test establishes a baseline score that you'll have to match later in the season if you cop a head knock.

"The problem with the test is that players can manipulate it by under-performing so that later if you have a head knock and you have to beat it you normally can.

"This is an issue people, particularly young players, need to know about. More people need to speak out about it, tell the truth if they are suffering. Most players won't, though, for fear of being thought of as soft or because of the financial pressures."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

    Liverpool through after incredible penalty shootout win

    Liverpool had to settle for a dramatic 14-13 penalty shootout win to book their place in the League Cup last 16 after Middlesbrough held them to a 2-2 draw after extra-time at Anfield

  • Football

    Clyne stunner sends Arsenal crashing out

    Arsenal will not be in the League Cup fourth round draw after they slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday

  • Football

    Diaby makes first Arsenal start in 18 months

    Arsene Wenger has handed Abou Diaby another chance to resurrect his Arsenal career as the injury-plagued midfielder starts his side's League Cup clash against Southampton on Tuesday

  • Tennis

    'Dizzy' Williams withdraws from Wuhan Open

    World No.1 Serena Williams retired from her second-round match due to a viral illness at the Wuhan Open on Tuesday, dropping a third match to Alize Cornet this year

  • Cycling

    Brennauer clinches women's time-trial

    Germany's Lisa Brennauer has clinched women's individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships with a time of 38 minutes and 48 seconds in Ponferrada

Sponsored Links
Make $170 in 60 seconds!
Google Vs Facebook, 60 sec. knock out! Choose a champion, Become a Winner!
Make $25 in 1 Minute!
Start trading with the biggest broker! Register now to receive $25 for FREE!