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Sexton 'shocked and saddened' by French doctor's 'totally inappropriate' concussion comments

The neurologist who recommended Sexton be stood down from rugby in 2014 today said he regretted suggesting the out-half has suffered 30 concussions.

Sexton was removed due to a head injury late on in Sunday's loss to Wales.
Sexton was removed due to a head injury late on in Sunday's loss to Wales.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Feb 10th 2021, 4:01 PM

IRELAND CAPTAIN JONATHAN Sexton has branded an interview given by his former neurologist about his concussion history as ‘totally inappropriate’.

Dr. Jean-Francois Chermann, the specialist who recommended Sexton’s 12-week break from the game in 2014, suggested on radio station RMC that Sexton has suffered 30 concussions in his career – a figure he has since distanced himself from.

Speaking from Ireland’s training base today, where he is still restricted by return to play protocols before he can resume team training, Sexton responded angrily to the neurologist’s view.

“I’m pretty saddened and shocked by the inaccurate reports that were thrown out,” said the out-half.

“We’ve been here before. It is very frustrating and, for me, totally inappropriate that someone I had seen – years ago now – felt it appropriate to come out and talk to whoever it was and say those things.

“I’m pretty disappointed. But for me I am so used to it that it’s almost water off a duck’s back. But for my wife and mum it’s very upsetting, but that’s the world we live in.”

He added:

I thought there was a patient-doctor confidentiality. I’m pretty sure that exists in the world. And I just cant get over the fact that someone thought it was appropriate to say things that weren’t even accurate. That’s the most hurtful thing.”

Sexton then moved to close the discussion on the matter, reasonably offering to talk about Sunday’s meeting with France or indeed the loss to Wales. He again uses the phrase ‘we’ve been here before’, likely referring to England coach Eddie Jones expressing concern for his health before his team faced Ireland in 2016.

With that experience, he feels it’s best to put a limit on defending his medical history.

“We could sit here and talk about it for 20 minutes, but I’m never going to win out. Because the last time I did (argue back) I tried to give the facts and defend myself and I was in the papers for being selfish and all that to the younger players coming through the system. (I had) people accusing me of just looking after myself.

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“So I can’t win. So I’m just not going to talk about it for the rest of the press conference if that’s okay. I just want to focus on France, or we can talk about Wales.”

Update: 16.00

Dr Chermann has today moved to clarify the remarks about Sexton, saying in a statement through RMC:

“As regards Sexton, we cannot say for certain that he has had 30 concussions.

“I should never have cited this figure without any explanation and I regret the wrong I have done to the player who was my patient and who I respect more than anyone.”

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Sean Farrell

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