Brown remains totally committed


Published: Friday 13th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Mike Brown expects his default setting of all-out commitment to remain intact despite the traumatic concussion incident that has interrupted his RBS 6 Nations.

England’s full-back was knocked unconscious during an accidental collision with Italy’s Andrea Masi a month ago and after enduring two setbacks while observing return to play protocols he was forced to miss the defeat in Ireland.

Now fully fit and restored to the starting XV, Brown’s mind inevitably turns to the possible lingering after affects arising from an incident which saw him receive lengthy medical treatment before being withdrawn on a motorised cart.

When asked if he would be wary when challenging for the next 50-50 ball, Brown said: “I don’t think so.

“It hasn’t been like that in training so far, although obviously that is a bit different to being in a game.

“The way I play, I can’t afford to do that because it would take so much away from my game. I think I’m 100 per cent committed every time I’m going for a ball.

“Hopefully I will just switch into automatic mode and won’t think too much of it. We’ll see when I get out there.”

Little over a week after concussion became a major talking point when Wales wing George North was allowed to play on despite having been knocked out, Brown’s case reflected far better on a sport facing up to its single most pressing issue.

Once medics arrived, the 29-year-old was rolled on to a spinal board, regaining consciousness in the changing room before sheepishly accepting an ovation from the Twickenham crowd when he emerged to watch the second half from the stands.

“I’ve seen a couple of clips of the incident – people were nice enough to Tweet me it a few times!” Brown said.

“I’ve seen a couple of pictures of the hit which was nice as well – great facials and then asleep on the floor. It happens in rugby. It’s a collision sport.

“I was just thinking: ‘why didn’t I get my head in the right position or get there quicker so I didn’t have to make the tackle?’ It’s just annoying.

“I only managed 12 minutes of the game which is even more frustrating because I didn’t do anything in the game to be happy about. I got knocked out and that was it.

“I was a bit embarrassed by the applause when I came out. I only lasted 12 minutes and I didn’t do much in those 12 minutes to warrant that applause. I just got knocked out. I was just trying to sneak out quietly and get behind the subs.”

Brown is grateful that his fiancee Eliza, who was watching from the stands, was updated on his condition by England’s medical staff within minutes, adding: “One of the first things I said when I could actually speak was: ‘let my fiancee know’. I was quite proud of myself!”

Although desperate to play in the important title showdown against Ireland that England lost 19-9, the raised awareness surrounding concussion and its dangers compelled Brown to disclose the mild symptoms that prevented his involvement.

He admits that until recently, he would have considered keeping the mild headache he was feeling private in his eagerness to win another cap.

“Pulling out is one of the worst things I’ve ever had to go through in my whole life,” he said.

A player dubbed ‘Mr Angry’ by team-mate Luther Burrell and one with a “winner’s mentality” according to head coach Stuart Lancaster found watching England unravel at Lansdowne Road from the comfort of his living room an ordeal.

“I was fuming. I wasn’t happy at all. Unfortunately, my fiancee had to go through it with me, poor lady,” he said.

“It wasn’t something I want to be doing too regularly, sat in my lounge, on the edge of my sofa, screaming at the TV.

“I think I am more nervous watching it than I usually am playing. I had to have a quiet moment to myself at half time. I had to take myself off for a few moments. It wasn’t a good day.”

* If you are involved in rugby find out more about concussion by completing the RFU’s new online education course

Published: Friday 13th March 2015 by The News Editor

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