Former Scottish rugby union player John Shaw, who suffered concussion while playing the sport, has spoken about his concerns that he might have long term brain damage.
Speaking to BBC Scotland, ex-Glasgow Warrirors flanker Shaw is seen on camera enduring what he describes as a “cut-out moment” when he can’t remember the question asked by presenter John Beattie.
The frightening moment will raise concern among the rugby community, as questions remain over the long-term impact concussion will have on the health of players. The video can be seen below.
— BBC Scotland News (@BBCScotlandNews) February 15, 2016
Journalist David Walsh, whose Lance Armstrong investigation is the subject of the film The Program, recently told Loaded about his concerns on concussion’s impact.
During fellow former rugby union player Beattie’s interview, one of the most poignant moments comes when 47-year-old Shaw is asked: “What do you think the future holds for you?” After several moments of silence, Shaw replies: “That was one of my cut-out moments there”. He tells Beattie this happens frequently and tries to answer the question again. He adds that his brain effectively sometimes switches off. Beattie played for Scotland and the British and Irish Lions. In 2015, he made a documentary about the evidence that repeated head trauma in contact sports might lead to long-term brain damage. He now speaks to former team mates and friends like Shaw who come forward, afraid that they too might be suffering from concussion’s effects.
After playing for Glasgow Warriors from 1996-2000, Shaw became player-coach at East Kilbride before coaching at Whitecraigs. He then became a referee, as well as managing director of Scaffolding Scotland.
The side-effects of concussion have been highlighted recently by new film Concussion. Starring Will Smith as pathologist Dr Bennet Omalu, it’s based on the death of former NFL star Mike Webster, whose passing was linked to head trauma suffered while playing American football.
Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran