Recently retired Pat Lambie has described the ‘crazy’ decision to downplay a head knock sustained in the 2018 European Champions Cup semi-final.
For Lambie, who announced his retirement at the age of 28 earlier this year, that was the fourth concussion suffered in the space of two years, and would ultimately lead to him calling time on his career.
Although Lambie pushed on to play in the Champions Cup final, he suffered a knee injury early in that game and had to be replaced. In an interview with The Times, he reflected on the moment he suffered a blow to the head against Munster the week before.
‘It was from a scrum, I made a tackle; it was a big collision. I stayed at the bottom of the ruck, feeling dizzy, everything was spinning, tried to get up, sort of wobbled a bit, went back down for the rest of the passage of play, had some ice on my head, sprayed myself with some water, shook it off, said I was fine and carried on.
‘In the back of my mind, I was concerned that if I put my hand up and said, “I need an HIA [head injury assessment],” I wouldn’t be allowed back on the field, and worse, if we made it to the final, I wouldn’t be allowed to play in that.’
He added that he was in ‘combat mode’, desperate to ensure that he played his part and never let the team down.
‘I tried to pretend that I was fine, OK. I was trying to lie to myself. It was crazy… I didn’t want to let the club down, I’d just arrived, I was part of a special team, I’d already spent seven weeks on the sideline because of a head injury. Now it was crunch time. I don’t want to be the one putting my hand up saying, “Bit of a headache here, I’m not feeling myself”.
‘I had promised myself with previous head injuries that I would never do that, that I would never run on to the field without feeling 100%. And regrettably I did.’
Photo: Dave Winter/Icon Sport