All Blacks Prop To Retire Over Concussion

Ben Afeaki Stands Down From Rugby


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

Specialist sports injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have welcomed the decision of Ben Afeaki, a former prop for the All Blacks, to retire from rugby due to a concussion he sustained in February last year.

The 27-year-old has suffered from nausea, dizziness and difficulty concentrating since his head injury in the Super Rugby match against the Crusaders. It was his third concussion in as many years, and he has not played rugby since.

Afeaki said the decision to stand down was difficult, but he feels his health is at risk.

"I am very fortunate that I have achieved some awesome things in rugby but now is the time that I have to make a decision that is best for my health long-term, and that is to retire from all rugby," he said in an official statement.

He will continue to receive support from his team, New Zealand Rugby, his provincial union and the New Zealand Players Association following his retirement.

The news comes as Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau voiced his support for Australian rugby's strict new concussion protocols, which forbid players from returning to the field if they show any of the warning signs of a head injury.

Expert Opinion
A variety of sports, including rugby, have made significant steps forward in the way head injuries and concussions are dealt with in recent month, with the implementation of new protocols and regulations aimed at protecting those who take part.

“However, in many cases the ultimate decision lies with the players after being advised by medical professionals. In this instance the correct decision has been made and Ben Afeaki has ended his career after a series of serious head injuries. We hope he can now focus on his recovery.

“All too often we have seen players continue to play after suffering a head injury, which puts their long-term health at risk, as the problems associated with head injuries can cause a range of problems.
Stephen Nye, Partner