Rebels flank Lipman retires

2012-06-27 07:54
Michael Lipman (AFP)

Melbourne - Former England back-rower Michael Lipman has quit the Melbourne Rebels after suffering severe headaches and "haziness" following a concussion during the Super Rugby season.

Lipman had informed his team-mates this week, Melbourne's The Age newspaper reported, but the decision had been brewing for some time, a Melbourne Rebels spokesperson said on Wednesday.

"He won't be playing any of the remaining games in the season. It's an unfortunate end to a great career," he said.

Born in London and raised in Sydney, Lipman was a member of Australia's under-21 squad but returned to England where he played more than 100 matches for English Premiership club Bath and 10 tests for England following his debut against New Zealand in 2004.

He returned to Australia in 2010 to play in the domestic Shute Shield competition before being recruited by the Rebels in their foundation year last year.

"The bottom line is that throughout my career I've had so many bangs to the head and I've had so much concussion ... the last couple have been the icing on the cake," Lipman told The Age.

"I've just had too many. Enough's enough and when you're body's talking to you like it is now, you've got to listen to it and be sensible because the hardest thing in anything really is to admit that your time is up and to come to terms with it.

"(The headache) is always there and you can feel the pressure in your head and when you start running and training it makes it a lot worse.

"You're just very confused really, and you're hazy and you're very clouded and not many things make sense.

"You just become very, very tired. You become exhausted straight away and you feel like going to sleep, when it should really be the opposite, because when you start working and training, the endorphins release and you get a pick-up. You shouldn't get totally down the way I've been."

Lipman had also revealed that he had ignored medical advice to quit rugby due to his concussion-related symptoms when playing for Bath, The Age said.

The long-term effects of head injuries in high-contact sports have come into sharp focus in recent years with a string of former National Football League players taking their own lives after suffering depression.

Hundreds of former players are suing the NFL, but sports leagues have been loath to admit any connection between high-impact sport and long-term brain injuries.

The Rebels made no mention of Lipman's problems with concussion in a statement about his retirement on Wednesday, merely saying "injuries" had curtailed his career.

Lipman said he wanted to speak out about his concussion-related injuries to help other athletes.

"There are loads of things going on with concussion at the moment, and it is such a huge aspect in rugby as well as AFL, but the side effects are unknown," Lipman said, referring to the high-impact indigenous football code, Australian Rules, where a number of players have cut their careers short due to the same problems.

"Everyone's getting bigger, stronger and faster, (but) the brain's the brain, if you drop a computer that many times eventually it's not going to turn back on."

Lipman quits after only managing seven matches this year for the Rebels, who are out of the running for the playoffs with three rounds left in the regular season.

Read more on:    rugby

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