Scotland centre Matt Scott has raised fresh concerns that rugby’s strict head injury protocols will never be enough to fully protect player welfare.
The 28-year-old Edinburgh player has recently returned from what he described as a “horrendous” five months out with a concussion injury he suffered back in October.
Scott praised the support he has been given by the Scottish Rugby Union’s medical team but fears that such an “intangible” injury will always rely on the honesty of players, some in less secure circumstances than his, who may choose to hide symptoms which lead to them being stood down for their own wellbeing.
“There are guys who wouldn’t care, they just want to play rugby,” said the 39-times capped centre.
“Rugby is their life and that’s everything. I think I’m quite good at looking at the bigger picture. If it got to the stage where it was a real risk to my health then I would probably stop.”
Scott added: “You’ve got guys who are perhaps coming to the last two or three months of their contracts, they don’t have a club for next year, and they’re thinking, I’ve got a bit of a headache but I’m not going to declare that because I need to play for a club because no one will pick me up if I’ve not played with the concussion.
“Even coming up to World Cup time, if somebody picks up a head knock before they get on the plane to Japan.... Do you mention it or do you not? It’s interesting.”
Last week Scotland and Leicester Tigers No 8 David Denton, a former Edinburgh team-mate of Scott’s, told The Scotsman that he won’t be fit for the World Cup after the latest head injury he suffered last September has led to him being ruled out for the season.