POCKET ROCKET Rob Burrow has admitted he is concerned about the number of concussions he has suffered during his Leeds Rhinos career.
But Burrow insisted he is confident in the medical care he receives at Leeds and he has no fears over continuing to play the game.
Burrow sat out the second half of last week’s 70-6 drubbing of Salford Red Devils as a precaution following a high tackle which led to a yellow card for Adrian Morley.
That was the latest in a series of such knocks suffered by the 32-year-old, whose stature – at just 5ft 5ins tall – and ducking, weaving running style make him prone to being tackled around the head.
“It was one of those things,” Burrow said.
“I can remember what happened before it, but not the actual incident itself.
“It’s not the first time, it is probably 15-plus times it’s been like that in my career.
“Apparently I was repeating myself quite a lot, which is a sign [of concussion], but the responses I gave to the doctor must have been all right.
“I didn’t play in the second half because of that.
“I am all right now and I’ve been tested all week.”
The potential long-term effects of repeated concussions have led to new rules which allow for a free substitution while players are being assessed during games.
Players who suffer a bang to the head must pass tests before they are allowed to play again and Burrow, who is in Leeds’ initial 19, said he is confident he will be fit for tomorrow’s visit of Catalans Dragons and won’t suffer any lasting damage after his playing days are over.
“That’s why I didn’t go back on last week,” he said.
“You certainly think about it a bit more when you’ve got kids, but I did my cheekbone a few years back and they did a scan of my whole head.
“I was all right then and I haven’t had many concussions since.
“But of course it is a concern, it is reality, I am absolutely fine, but you do think about it. But we have got really good medical staff here and we get looked after really well.
“I always want to play, but you have to do the right things and go through all the right procedures.
“It is important and you don’t cheat on things like that, because there’s nothing more important than life.”
Of this week, Burrow said: “It is a long turnaround, so I had a long time to get the tests done and pass them.
“There’s no effect after a bit of memory loss. I wasn’t out cold or anything like that.”
Last week’s bang to the head was a double blow, coming in a game when Burrow had made a rare start. The long-serving No 7, who made his Rhinos debut in 2001, has made 14 of his 21 appearances this term off the substitutes’ bench, but was at scrum-half last week as Kevin Sinfield sat out the game due to a shoulder injury.
“That’s just the way it goes,” Burrow said.
“It was a good, open game as well, a real attacking game, so it was disappointing in that respect.
“But these things happen. It is a tough sport and you get knocks.”
Rhinos will go into tomorrow’s game needing a point to guarantee top spot at the end of the regular First Utility Super League season.
They face reigning First Utility Super League champions St Helens in a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final in six days’ time, before beginning their Super-8s campaign the following weekend. Fixtures for the Super-8s, which for Rhinos are likely to include a trip to Perpignan to face Catalans, will be published next Wednesday.
Burrow will move level with former Warrington Wolves half-back Lee Briers in 10th place on Super League’s all time appearance chart, with 380, if he plays tomorrow.
Other past or present Rhinos players currently in the top-10 are Kevin Sinfield (first, 444 appearances), Jamie Peacock (third, 428) and Keith Senior (equal fifth, 413).