Premiership: Mike Brown unlikely to play again for Harlequins this season
England full-back won't be risked by club as he continues to experience headaches from concussion in February
Conor O’Shea does not expect full-back Mike Brown to play again this season.
The Harlequins director of rugby has revealed that the England international is still experiencing concussion-like symptoms two months after he was knocked out against Italy in the RBS 6 Nations.
He comes in to see the medics, but until he’s symptom free, he won’t resume any sort of training.
Conor O’Shea on Mike Brown’s ongoing concussion symptoms
Brown, 29, has been stood down for Quins’ Aviva Premiership matches against Sale Sharks and Bath, and will probably not feature in their final game of the regular season at Newcastle Falcons with a view to getting the Red Rose star right for the Rugby World Cup.
O’Shea has had to do without one of his leaders for much of the season and admits he is worried for Brown, who cannot return to training until he has been given the all-clear from the club’s medical staff.
“Mike has played just six league games for us this season and it looks like it will probably stay that way,” O’Shea told The Independent.
“He comes in to see the medics, but until he’s symptom free, he won’t resume any sort of training.
“It’s probably the wrong turn of phrase, but it’s doing his head in because he can’t train and is very frustrated.
“He has headaches throughout the day. If it’s an ankle injury, you can grade it and set a timescale. This is more ‘how long is a piece of string?’
“Are we worried? Of course we’re worried. He didn’t even enjoy his week away. I feel for him.
“If I said to you ‘go home, you’ll have headaches for the next month and you don’t know when they are going to stop’ – well, that’s a pretty tough place to be and that is where he is at the moment.
“We care about him and support him. I want to see Mike Brown right when he is in his 50s, not when he is in his prime.
“He will not undergo a normal return-to-play procedure now. It will be a more extensive procedure.
“It’s not about Quins, it’s about Mike.”
Brown is the second high-profile player to see his season curtailed by concussion after Northampton Saints stood down Wales wing George North after he was knocked out after scoring a try in their Premiership win over Wasps.
How anyone can question the ethics of anyone on the medical side of this is beyond me. He has been treated excellently.
North was concussed twice in the same game against England during the RBS 6 Nations, but continued to play after the Wales coaching staff and medics missed the severity of the collisions.
While Brown was ruled out of England’s defeat to Ireland in Dublin, with Saracens’ Alex Goode replacing him at full-back, he was passed fit by the Red Rose medics to start their final two games against Scotland and France.
But on his return to Quins, he presented with further concussion symptoms and has remained on the sidelines.
O’Shea insists that Brown was well looked after by the England medical team at their Pennyhill Park base after questions were raised about whether Brown was rushed back with the Six Nations title on the line.
The Quins boss also expects that the lengthy absence will not hurt Brown’s prospects of lining up for England at the Rugby World Cup, which gets under way in September.
“How anyone can question the ethics of anyone on the medical side of this is beyond me,” O’Shea added.
“He has been treated excellently.
“He’ll have the World Cup warm-ups and he’ll be fine.
“The World Cup is not an issue at all. With your England hat on, you might say this enforced break is the best thing for his limbs.”