Taranaki's Kane Barrett still out with concussion
Taranaki captain Kane Barrett looks set to miss the start of the national provincial championship because of continuing concussion problems.
Barrett, 24, has been sidelined for most of 2014 after he took an elbow to the jaw at Blues training in March.
He made brief appearances for his Coastal club and the Blues development side but has not been able to play since he reported continuing problems several weeks ago.
"I'm taking it day by day, week by week," Barrett said this week. "It's the most frustrating thing I've come across because you just don't know how long it's going to be."
Barrett had been under the care of Blues doctor Stephen Kara but was now being monitored by Taranaki's medical team, headed by Dr Steve Smith.
He had hoped to be back for Taranaki's last preseason match against Auckland next week but that target had to be changed, with Barrett unclear what the next goal would be.
Despite the uncertainty, the former New Zealand schools captain had resumed training with Taranaki, although he was avoiding any contact work.
"I haven't had any symptoms whatsoever, so it will just be a matter of passing the concussion test and we'll be away again," he said.
"When that is, I don't know, but hopefully it's sooner than later. I am just in the doctors' hands because they know I've had a second one now and they don't want to rush me out because if I get number three, then you're looking at some pretty serious consequences."
Former Taranaki team-mates of Barrett, Craig Clarke and prop Shane Cleaver, have had their careers ended prematurely because of concussion. Cleaver quit last year three games into Taranaki's NPC campaign, while Clarke was sidelined midway through the first season of his year-deal with Irish club Connacht.
Barrett maintained that he was not having any issues while he was training, but had suffered symptoms during his normal day-to-day life.
However, he felt well enough now to the point he was comfortable getting back on the field.
"It's just the confidence of getting back out there, that's going to be the big thing."
Although he had been off the field for the vast majority of the season, Barrett was still fielding plenty of interest from people wanting to know how he was.
Off contract with the Blues after his two-year deal ended, Barrett knows he would have to get back playing to further his Super Rugby career, with no franchise likely to take a gamble on his recovery time.
"No one wants to look at a player who is off the field, so until I'm back, nothing is going to happen. But I'm not interested in anything like that, I just want to get myself back on the field, find some form and then worry about it."
Taranaki Daily News