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Beauden Barrett admits behind the scenes retirement scare

By Sam Smith
(Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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All Blacks star Beauden Barrett has revealed that he considered retiring from rugby last year as he struggled with the symptoms of concussion.

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Barrett was injured in the 29-20 defeat to Ireland during the Autumn Nations Seris in Dublin last November. He was sent for a HIA after tackling winger Andrew Conway and didn’t return.

He hasn’t played since.

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The knock resulted in severe concussion symptoms for Barrett, symptoms that got so bad at one stage that the All Blacks first-five considered packing in his playing career.

“For two weeks, things have been much better. But throughout the off-season, I had migraines, 80 to 90 per cent of the time. Today, it tends to fade, they have become rarer,” Barrett told XV Mondial in France.

Indeed the 30-year-old is still not back in full contact training with the Blues, who are hoping to make a splash in the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season.

“I will gradually resume contact training, I hope to play again in three weeks against the Chiefs. I thought it might be the end of my career. When you feel sluggish 99 per cent of the day, trying several ways to get better, but nothing works, you assume the worst.

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“And then you hear about teammates who have to end their careers because of concussions, it’s more and more frequent. I thought it was my turn.

“You learn to get used to small headaches, a bit like a mild hangover. It’s very frustrating because when you wake up, in principle, you should feel refreshed and ready.”

Barrett is only New Zealand’s 11th rugby union Test centurion, reaching the landmark against Wales on the Autumn, nine years after his international debut, and he remains a match-winner of the highest class.

Barrett was named world player of the year in 2016 and 2017 and has scored voer 700 Test points.

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