All Blacks superstar Beauden Barrett has been forced off with another head injury in the Blues’ Super Rugby win over the Highlanders in Dunedin, weeks after saying he feared his career was over due to concussion symptoms.
The 30-year-old two-time world player of the year, who recently returned to action following a serious concussion suffered against Ireland in November, was taken off in the 41st minute after a collision with Highlanders centre Fetuli Paea.
Barrett had put in a strong first-half performance that included a try and 13 points before making way for Stephen Perofeta in a 32-25 win for the Blues.
“We’re never going to take any chances with Beauden. We want to look after his health and make sure he’s well,” said Blues coach Leon MacDonald after the game.
“It was an automatic decision (taking him off)… He’s got a good fat lip and a bleeding nose, and hopefully it’s nothing much more than that. We’ll have to track him and see how he cleans up.”
Barrett earlier this month said his recovery period in the aftermath of the injury against Ireland was “extremely challenging”.
“I’m well aware of how concussion can lead to retirement if it doesn’t work out. Kane, my brother, had to give up his career because of it. I see plenty of good friends and team mates have done the same in the past,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
“It’s probably the closest I’ve been to retirement and I wasn’t ready for it… The hardest thing about this one was not finding the cure. That’s the million-dollar question with a lot of these concussions. It was frustrating.”