Rugby

'I’m Probably Only One More Head Knock Away From Being A Vegetable'

'I’m Probably Only One More Head Knock Away From Being A Vegetable'

Former Australia international Anthony Fainga'a called time on his rugby career this week aged just 32.

The 23-cap Wallaby, who last played international rugby in 2012, did so due to fears regarding concussion.

"I’m probably only one more head knock away from being a vegetable or not being able to play with my kids," Fainga'a told Fox Sports. "After a couple of really big head knocks, I had to make a big decision."

Fainga'a told of an incident at the wedding his of brother Saia, who also an Australian international.

In 2016 - this is where it all stems from - my twin brother got married and at the altar, I was actually getting held up because of the head knocks.

I received a couple of really big head knocks over my career and [due to] that particular head knock, I was standing at the altar getting held up - I got walked out by someone.

I was godfather to my niece Sienna. I was shaking as I was putting water over her head

I got a few head knocks last year and after all these head knocks, I had to make a decision; make a choice about what I wanted to do with my future.

I love the rugby game so much but I needed to look after my mental health. I can't be crawling around, sick - my wife would find me crawling to the bathroom. I had blurred vision all the time. I get run down really easily.

It was disappointing, some of the things she had to put up with.

"I had to own it," continued Fainga'a.

"When I would speak it out loud, it was an easier decision. When I was thinking about it, [it was like] 'How hard is this?' I'm not going to quit, I love the game. I've got offers to keep going I should be playing still."

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Fainga'a's other brother Colby plays for Connacht.

"They would never say: ‘It’s time to hang the boots up.’ But I told them and they were so happy for me.

“My message would be it’s never too early, it’s never too late to finish up. Everyone wants to keep playing, everyone loves rugby but it only takes that one head knock.

“Especially for younger players, they need to make the hard decision. The easy decision is to keep playing, the hard choice is to say, 'I’m going to give this up and go and do something else.'"

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PJ Browne
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