Former Wales and Lions winger Shane Williams has revealed that he believes consistent headaches he now suffers are a result of concussions.
Williams scored 60 tries in 91 Test caps in a glittering career, and was admired across the globe for his skills and toughness despite being only 170cm tall.
Now retired after a stint in Japan, Williams believes that playing at a time when there was a lack of emphasis on player welfare with regards to concussion, may have long-term effects for his health.
“The game gave me everything but there are times when I’ve asked myself if the headaches and loss of concentration I sometimes experience now are down to the countless knocks to the head I received in my career,” Williams told The Rugby Paper.
“My career was spent in a time when no-one really had a full understanding about head injuries.
“The mind-set was completely different. We knew rugby was a contact sport so if you couldn’t see the injury then you just got on with it.
“Goodness knows how many bangs I took to the head, but the truth is that I probably suffered a concussion-type injury once every three games I played. That’s no exaggeration, and over a 15-year career that’s a lot of bangs to the head.
“I don’t know whether the problems I suffer now are a direct result of those head injuries but it’s little wonder we now hear of other former players suffering dizzy spells, headaches and memory loss.
“Countless times I was caught with a heavy blow that left me literally seeing stars, my mind went blank and I just didn’t know where I was for a moment.
“Back then people thought concussion meant being knocked out, but we have since realised that it doesn’t.”