Furious Sexton hits back at French doctor over concussion remarks

Dublin (AFP) –


Ireland captain Johnny Sexton on Wednesday angrily hit back at a French neurologist who used to treat him, branding remarks about his concussion record "inaccurate and highly inappropriate".

The 35-year-old skipper is going through return-to-play protocols this week after taking a knock to the head in the 21-16 defeat by Wales at the weekend.

The Irish playmaker is confident he will be fit for Sunday's second Six Nations match at home to France.

But he was furious at Jean-Francois Chermann, the neurologist who recommended Sexton be stood down from rugby for 12 weeks when he was a Racing 92 player in 2014 due to repeated brain injuries, after Chermann referred to the Irishman's injury record in comments to French radio station RMC.

"Listen, I think Johnny Sexton has had around 30 concussions across his entire career," said Chermann in remarks that were published in the Irish media.

"So what is needed is that he knows what he is incurring to make the right decisions. I think that we can hear 'Yes, I have a risk of developing a neurodegenerative pathology but I want to take that risk'."

But Sexton said he was "shocked and saddened" by the remarks.

"I think it is totally inappropriate to come out to talk to whoever it was and make remarks that are inaccurate and highly inappropriate," he said.

"I am pretty disppointed but I am used to it, it is water off a duck's back for me. However, for my mum and wife it is very upsetting, but it is the world we live in."

Sexton queried whether Chermann had broken unwritten rules on patient-doctor confidentiality.

"Yeah I thought there was a patient doctor-confidentiality, I am pretty sure it exists globally," he said.

"I cannot get over the fact that someone thought it appropriate to say things about me that are not even accurate."

Sexton said he remained on course to captain Ireland against France, which is a must-win match for Andy Farrell's side, who finished third in the Six Nations last year.

The fly-half said he was on track to return to non-contact training on Thursday.

"I want to focus on this week and the return-to-play protocols. If I pass it I am able to play, if I do not then I won't be able to," he said.