Lambie endured a lengthy lay-off after being concussed last June and then sustained another blow to the head in a victory over the Kings in May, after which it was revealed he “was waking up feeling hungover in the mornings” and was suffering with sensitivity to light.
In a statement, the Sharks revealed the 26-year-old will spend three to six months being kept away from contact, but it is anticipated he will then return.
Sharks team doctor Alan Kourie said: “We have spent the last six weeks gathering as much information as possible, which is why we have avoided making any unsubstantiated statements in the press.
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) July 6, 2017
“Pat has been referred to two independent specialists [concussion and neurologist] and we have also sought the opinion of a UK-based specialist, who has dealt with over 1,500 cases of concussion. With clear results of both an MRI and an EEG [electroencephalogram] all three doctors, including myself, are of the opinion that a period of 3-6 months without contact is necessary.
“This decision has been taken to give Pat a chance to fully recover from his symptoms, after which we have no objection to him playing again.”
Lambie, who has earned 56 caps for the Springboks, said: “I have been exercising for 30-40 minutes a day for the last month and I started to run again last week. I also have a thorough eye and neck rehab schedule, which I am following on a daily basis at the Sharks. None of the exercise has made my symptoms worse and in fact, I feel my best whilst active.
“I will be playing rugby again and I certainly have no plans to retire. My focus for now is purely on making a full recovery and getting fit and strong again. Once the three-month rest period has been completed, I will be reassessed to determine where we are in terms of the rugby calendar for the rest of the 2017 season.
“I would like to thank both the Cell C Sharks and SA Rugby for their patience and concern for me. I have been cared for and looked after extremely well and I am grateful for their constant support. The fact that both parties have not put any pressure on me to get back on the field, until I fully recover, makes the world of difference with my recovery.”
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.