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  1. ITV Report

Rugby player warns others about the risks of repeated concussion

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A professional rugby player has been forced to retire early because of repeated concussion.

Alex Cheesman, 29, has played rugby all his life - most recently for Championship side Cornish Pirates.

He's still recovering from a particularly bad knock in February and was advised further head injury could leave lasting damage.

What is concussion?

Concussion can cause bruising, vessel tearing and nerve damage. Credit: ITV News West Country
  • A temporary injury to the brain caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head
  • It usually only lasts up to few days or weeks, although it sometimes needs emergency treatment
  • Some people can have longer-lasting problems
  • Among others, symptoms can include a headache, dizziness, feeling sick, confused or suffering from memory loss

More advice on concussion and what to do on the NHS website.

The 29-year-old has played rugby all his life. Credit: ITV News West Country

The majority of concussions resolve themselves quite quickly - the more you have them the slower they heal.

However, for Alex continuing his rugby career could put him at risk of long-term brain damage.

The RFU have introduced stricter protocols in recent years to protect players.

But Alex is hoping sharing his story will make the game safer for all players, whatever level they are competing at.