Mitch Brown was “rattled” after watching Ian Roberts’ revelations that concussions from rugby league had left him brain damaged, two nights after the Canterbury winger was knocked out.
Brown can’t remember much of his first game of the season after being collected with a high shot from Brisbane’s Andrew McCullough on Friday night. He was taken from the field in the 42nd minute and did not return.
He watched with his girlfriend as Roberts predicted the ‘‘end of contact sport’’ after being diagnosed with brain damage which he believes is from being knocked out up to a dozen times in his playing career.
“It makes you worry,” Brown said. “In saying that it was a bit different back in the day when he was playing with all the heavy knocks and without the recovery and precautions we take now.
“Back then they were coming in with flying elbows and forearms, now it’s more accidental. All the precautions we take and the tests make a difference.
“[My girlfriend] might have been bluffing. She didn’t seem too rattled about it. I think I was a bit more rattled about it than her.
“The next day [the players] were talking about Ian Roberts. It is a thing in the back of your mind. I’m sure if I get KO’d again soon there will be a fair bit of stint on the sideline.
“Something like that always makes you paranoid. When they are showing the risks, in the back of your head you think it could happen to you.”
The concussion has had Brown on restricted training duties this week. He has been assessed throughout the week but is expected to play against Cronulla on Monday night.
“I had a bit of a nap during the game,” Brown said. “It must’ve got my real sweet spot in the jaw. Nothing hurts. The only thing that really hurt was that my face was all grazed from head planting.
“I’ve been real light training all week. I’ve been doing the concussion test. I passed it yesterday [Wednesday] . I’m still being monitored. We’ve got the long turnaround.
“If it was a Friday night game I probably wouldn’t have been able to play. With the Monday turnaround, being 10 days it’s plenty.”
Brown, Todd Lowrie (Brisbane), Liam Fulton (Wests Tigers) and Newcastle duo Kurt Gidley and Tyrone Roberts were all concussed in the opening round of the season. Any NRL player who shows signs of concussion must come from the field and be assessed by medical staff. They then must pass a cognitive test before returning to the field as part of the code’s new concussion rules.
“I don’t think I was coming back on the field,” Brown said. “If you’re out cold it’s silly to go back on the field. I think I was out for 40 seconds or a minute.
“I actually remember feeling that there was no way I wanted to go back on.”