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Dylan Hartley Shares Worrying 2011 Heineken Cup Final Story

Dylan Hartley Shares Worrying 2011 Heineken Cup Final Story
By Colman Stanley Updated
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Dylan Hartley shared a sad and horrifying story from the 2011 Heineken Cup final, where he captained Northampton in their loss to Leinster.

It is the type of tale that is becoming all too familiar among ex-professionals, with the likes of Alix Popham and Ryan Jones in the news, talking of their early onset dementia, and taking part in the crucial fight for player safety in the game.

Many reading this will be Leinster fans, and the second-half of 2011 final will have given them possibly their greatest Heineken Cup memories after the Johnny Sexton inspired comeback.

However, Dylan Hartley has no memory of those 40 minutes of rugby, and in an interview with the Daily Mail, he recounted the brutal consequences of a first-half head-knock.

In 2011, I smashed into Cian Healy's knee in the Heineken Cup final and I had a massive lump on my head. We went in at half-time with one hand on the trophy.

Then I went into the toilets and this weird thing came over me. I just started crying, breaking down. That, along with the massive lump on my forehead was a clear sign of a head knock. I played the second half and I can't remember it.

Dylan Hartley Tells Terrifying 2011 Final Story

20 May 2011; Leinster captain Leo Cullen, right, and Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley during a captain's photocall ahead of their Heineken Cup Final on Saturday. Heineken Cup Final Captain's Photocall, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
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"That wouldn't happen now," Hartley continued. "It would be identified and you'd be off. Things have changed for the better. In 2011 we didn't even have HIAs. You've just got to keep moving.

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"Education, education, education. Everyone's aware of the risks now. I signed up knowing that I'd break some bones, but I didn't know getting knocked out could lead to dementia.

"We were almost like guinea pigs. If you're concussed now you don't come in to the club. When I was club captain, I had to be seen and be present. Leading things. I couldn't be at home having a week off. That was frowned upon."

SEE ALSO: Munster Fans Can't Get Enough Of 19-Year-Old Second Row Edwin Edogbo

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