Chiefs utility back Tim Nanai-Williams has revealed that suffering from his first concussion was a scary experience.
Nanai-Williams was knocked out while playing for Samoa against New Zealand at the Glasgow Sevens earlier this month. The 25-year-old is one of at least eight Chiefs players to sustain a concussion, either in a match or at training, and he said the various head knocks was a major wake-up call to him and all the other players.
He was determined to play in last weekend's crucial clash against the Hurricanes but soon realised that his health was more important.
"A few of our boys have had head knocks [this year] and obviously Ben Afeaki has retired from it and so it's something I don't want to play around with and wanted to make sure I was 100 per cent before I got back on the field," Nanai-Williams told Fairfax Media.
"I guess we're really cautious about all those things now; even if you get a little head knock the medical staff are always treating it like it's a major because even little head knocks can all add up and become one big thing.
"[Team doctor] Kevin Bell has been doing really well with us with all the concussions that have been happening.
"With Ben having to retire everyone's a bit scared of getting a head knock now. It's just the nature of our game that we get head knocks, but I guess it doesn't just go straight over our head anymore, we get a head knock now we go and see the doc and take it really seriously.
"Our coaches are really big on it as well because we don't want to see another guy have to retire early from it."
Nanai-Williams passed the required concussion tests last week and scored a try after coming on as a replacement in the Chiefs win over the Bulls in Rotorua.
However, the concussion he suffered while on Sevens duty for Samoa was scary and he made sure that he treated it properly.
"It was in overtime and I ran into the hip of Sam Dixon and went out for the count," added Nanai-Williams.
"I thought I was right afterwards – us rugby players always say we're right after we get injuries but often we're really not.
"I started getting a few little headaches as soon as I landed on my way back from Glasgow and was quite nauseous. I got a bit moody and thought it was the jet lag but doc said those are all the symptoms so I really found out what concussion is all about.
"I treated it like a big injury, to be honest, and something I don't really want to play with. I've seen other boys struggling with it, which is really sad, and I just wanted to make sure I was all right."