Jonathon Sexton has been cleared by the Irish medical staff to play in the opening Six Nations game against Scotland at the Aviva stadium, as Joe Schmidt’s men seek to attain a third consecutive championship.
Sexton suffered a severe head injury during Leinster’s embarrassing defeat to Wasps in the European rugby Champions Cup.
In December 2014, Racing Metro confirmed that Sexton had suffered four concussions and, as a result, he must serve a 12-week stand-down period.
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Sexton’s history with concussions is deeply worrying. Over the past year Sexton has suffered various concussions:
March 14, 2014: Sexton leads Ireland to the Six Nations title with a brilliant performance against France, however he is brought to a resounding halt with a sickening clash with Mathieu Bastareaud that sees him replaced.
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June 14th, 2014: Comes off after 64 minutes of the second Test of Ireland’s summer tour to Argentina after an innocuous-looking tackle on hooker Santiago Iglesias Valdez, leaves the Irish man feeling unsteady.
August 29th, 2014: Has his jaw broken by a late hit from Toulon hooker Craig Burden when playing for Racing 92. The vicious blow Sexton received left him sidelined for two months and was deemed concussive.
November 22nd, 2014: After kicking what would be the winning penalty against Australia, Sexton is concussed tackling Adam Ashley-Cooper. Subsequently, he was strongly advised by a French neurosurgeon to be stood down from all rugby for 12 weeks, for his own safety.
October 11th, 2015: Tears his adductor muscle kicking the ball in the early stages of the World Cup pool game against France. Sexton is then subject to a colossal hit from French giant Louis Picamoles and as a result, misses the Quarter Final clash with Argentina.
January 23rd, 2016: Suffers his latest concussion in an eighth-minute collision with former Leinster centre Brendan Macken. He fails a head injury assessment and doesn’t return to play.
Many believe Sexton should end his career before his injuries become potentially life threatening. Sexton has a family to consider and his wife is expecting their second child but Schmidt has branded any doubters of Sexton’s health and fitness as disappointments.
He told the BBC: “It was this time last year that the problem really arose and he had the break," Schmidt added: "Since that time he hasn't really had too many problems.
"As we're concerned and as far as Johnny's concerned, he is very keen to be ready to go in 11 days' time.
"All we can do is go on the medical opinion, and he had two of the best guys that are around, who made some decisions for him last year and have followed up since then."