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Rugby international warns of epilepsy risk

29 August, 2002

The Times reports that the former England rugby international, Dean Ryan, has called for better treatment of head injuries in the sport after he developed epilepsy as a result of repeated blows he endured during his career.

Ryan, who is now a coach for Gloucester RFC, claims that his condition can be traced back to the 1997-8 season while he was playing for Newcastle. Towards the end of the season, he was knocked unconscious three times in a week, but ignored official rules to rest, and continued playing.

Until international rugby guidelines, he should have been rested for three weeks, but was not. He says:

"Who was going to tell me not to play in a title run-in? I am not blaming anyone, but players need to be made aware of the personal dangers.”

Scans revealed bruising around the brain and in September last year he was diagnosed with epilepsy.

Ryan hopes that his experiences will lead to a closer monitoring of head injuries sustained by rugby players, and recognition of the need for correct assessment and treatment.