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Denton: 'My twelve-month hangover'

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'I've felt like I've been hungover for twelve months'

Former Scotland international David Denton has revealed that trauma of living with the concussion symptoms that recently ended his career. 

The back row suffered an innocuous knock playing for Leicester in their East Midlands Premiership derby at Twickenham in October 2018.

He was never to play again. Not only was his battle to try and make a comeback difficult, but life also continues to be difficult now, as he explained in the latest edition of Rugby, the quarterly UK journal. 

“For a lot of people who have to retire through concussion, they have a really bad period where they have to stay in dark rooms, they can’t go into the light. Mine was just like this the whole time – I’ve felt live I’ve been hungover for twelve months,” he said. 

“I’ve tried everything, I’ve been seeing a Chinese doctor, I’ve been getting acupuncture, CBT oil – I’ve been seeing countless specialists in different fields. They put me on a diet which seems to be helping a little bit – no caffeine, alcohol, sugar, cheese, citrus and generally low GI foods. It’s tough, there’s f*** all left. 

(Continue reading below…)

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“I’ve had two brain scans, next scans and there’s nothing to be concerned about in terms of my long-term health,” Denton continued. “I questioned the one neurologist and he said ‘most of the studies we’re doing, the results will be out in 20 years’. I didn’t really fancy being the guinea pig, and I think that essentially led to the decision that I can’t play anymore. 

“I knew the call was coming so I thought before it does, let’s just explore everything. Get my eyes tested, ears tested, bloods tested to make sure I don’t have some deadly disease or diabetes or anything like that. I got a full blood panel, there were a few areas I was generally in the normal range, and then he said, ‘let’s cross all these things off, but if they all come back fine, you know what the next conversation’s going to be’.

“It was only after ten months I was like, ‘f***, there is a good chance this will happen now’ but by the time I got there, I’d got my head around it. It wasn’t some big emotional moment. I pretty much knew what he [the neurologist] was going to say, but the week or two leading up to it was a bit ‘shit, this is a lot more real now’.

“Once it happened, it was a bit of a weight off my shoulders. It took away the pressure, not from other people, but myself, of trying to get back playing week after week, campaign after campaign. Being at a new club (Leicester), I’d kind of just set my stall out and I really wanted to follow through, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

WATCH: Dave Denton’s concussion issues explained

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'I've felt like I've been hungover for twelve months'