Johnny Sexton has expressed his frustration at media coverage surrounding a recent head injury he sustained while playing for Leinster.
The Leinster man completed return to play protocols last month after suffering a head injury against Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup clash at the Aviva Stadium.
Confusion reigned after Joe Schmidt told RTÉ the out-half passed a HIA when Leinster contradicted that a day later by saying he failed part of the assessment.
Sexton insists he was not concussed and took the blame for the confusion saying he had inadvertently misled the Ireland head coach.
The Dubliner moved to clarify the situation when addressing the press ahead of the provinces' penultimate Champions Cup meeting with Glasgow Warriors this weekend:
“Look, I can take part of the blame for that because I spoke with Joe after the game and told him that I was fine, that I was a bit shook by the initial contact but that I passed all my questions.
“But we thought it was best not to go back on the pitch because of how I felt on the pitch.
“I just got it on the soft part of my head. Was I concussed? No, probably not. But was it the right decision not to put me back out? Probably. Yeah, because I was probably startled by the collision.
“I know the truth and the doctors that work with me know the truth and that’s the main thing.”
“It's a hard area, especially if people in the media don't fully understand it then it can lead to a lot of, I suppose, uncertainty and media coverage but I was fine.
The 32-year-old was stood down by a doctor for 12 weeks in 2014 after he suffered a number of head injuries inside a short period of time.
Sexton claims he has three concussions in his career and says he is tired of the stigma of being associated with repeated brain injuries when it is not the case:
“I have had plenty of bangs on the head. But I’ve probably had two or three concussions.”
“But you talk about me on concussion and it goes hand in hand. It is very frustrating for me because it’s not true and also because we’ve got insurance companies we’ve got to talk to that don’t believe that I don’t get concussions. It can be pretty tricky.
“What happened in France was very precautionary. I don’t know how many times I have to talk about this.
“I picked up one bad and two mild knocks and this guy says: ‘look, you’ve had a few knocks to the head over the course of a few months and normally the protocol is that you take some time off, I recommend that you do that.’
“They have signed up in France that this doctor makes all the calls.
“Look, I argued it tooth and nail. I was actually fine after two or three weeks and I suppose I’ve been stuck with this stigma of concussion being attached to me when I have probably had maybe two or three ever in my career.”