CAPE TOWN – Patrick Lambie says he will play rugby again and has “no plans to retire” after the Sharks announced on Thursday that their star flyhalf returned clear scan results following a layoff for concussion.
Springbok and Sharks supporters have been largely in the dark about Lambie’s medical situation as doctors tried to find out the seriousness of his latest knock to the head. Lambie’s concussion problems started when he was barrelled over by Irish loose forward CJ Stander at Newlands last year June.
The latest episode was a rather unfortunate one as he made contact with Sharks teammate Rhyno Smith’s head in their Super Rugby clash against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on May 13, which saw Lambie go off during the first half and not return.
But the Sharks, via team doctor Alan Kourie, explained in a statement on Thursday that they spent the last six weeks to gather information, “which is why we have avoided making any unsubstantiated statements in the press”.
The good news for Lambie, in a nutshell, is that the 26-year-old is not being forced to retire from the game, and the man himself is confident of getting back on to the field.
“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,” Kourie said.
“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 said he is already feeling better on a daily basis as he follows the programme designed to get him back to full fitness.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Kourie said that Lambie had been experiencing “an intermittent low-grade headache, and very sensitive eyes”, but after a course of medication and physiotherapy, the headaches are “almost completely resolved” and his eyes are no longer as sensitive to light.