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Concussion in rugby will get worse: ex-NFL ace

Published 16/02/2016

Roberto Wallace warned that the issue of concussion could become bigger in rugby
Roberto Wallace warned that the issue of concussion could become bigger in rugby

Ex-Miami Dolphins star Roberto Wallace says rugby is going down the same route as the NFL and concussion will become an increasing problem.

The 29-year-old played three seasons as a wide receiver with the Dolphins before he joined the Tennessee Titans. A native of Panama, Wallace is now a performance trainer in San Diego.

He was in Mayo last week, as he did an exchange with Breaffy's Aidan O'Shea as part of The Toughest Trade, a two-part documentary film commissioned by AIB that will air on RTE2 next month.

Mayo were embroiled in controversy in their opening Allianz League clash against Cork when Lee Keegan remained on the field for a number of minutes after he took a knock to the head.

Read more: Boot out of rugby coaches who rush players with brain injuries back onto pitch, says dad of tragic Ben

Wallace, who was held scoreless at full-forward as Breaffy defeated Parke 4-12 to 2-6 in a challenge match, believes that concussion is a big problem.

"In my position in American football, it's not impossible to get a concussion because every time you put yourself out there you are at risk," he said.

"Concussion unfortunately is one of those things in American Football and rugby more so than Gaelic football, it's something you can't really avoid - especially those guys in rugby who are putting their head down a lot, and that's only going to get worse. They are putting their heads down and they are involved in big collisions.

"I wouldn't say that would be an issue in Gaelic for the simple fact that you are not attacking the man, you are attacking the ball. But in rugby and football people are being tackled and taken down."

Wallace said he really enjoyed playing Gaelic football and paid tribute to all who welcomed him.

"The people here are so welcoming," he said. "It was an awesome experience."

Belfast Telegraph

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