Home Sports Salford star admits worry over potential brain problems from dream rugby career

Salford star admits worry over potential brain problems from dream rugby career

staronline@reachplc.com (Julie Stott)

But the Salford and England half-back ­insists he is ready to face anything head on as the price he’ll pay for a career he loves.

The 35-year-old, whose young son is a promising player of the future, said: “Everything that has made my life good is rugby connected.

“I have had so much pleasure from the game and I love the sport because there is a risk factor involved.

“There is a worry about where I’ll be in 20 or 30 years but I would never stop my lad Harry from playing the game.”

Concussions – especially multiple head blows in one game – can eventually lead to brain ­problems in some cases.

Half-backs tend to get more than most players and Brown added: “I’ve had concussion multiple times in the same game and they are the most dangerous.

Kev Brown has had a long career in rugby league

“When I was younger you’d sniff salts and have water on your neck and it would be a sign of weakness to come off with concussion.

“But the RFL have done a lot of great stuff in the last five years and they have really tightened things up, which is good. I feel fine at the moment but I’ve seen specialists and nobody can tell me how I will be in the future.

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“Hopefully I won’t be affected but if I am, I still wouldn’t turn back the clock.”

Brown is fiercely tough on the field but off it is quick for a laugh and a joke, often at his own expense.

He said: “My family think all the concussions have knocked some sense into me. They say I was dafter before I started.”

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All top players cop abuse from opposing fans and the slightly-built Brown has a whole range of nicknames, including Giraffe, Pea Head and Big Ears.

He laughed: “Even my son has started calling me Giraffe!

“Fans can be brutal because they pick up on anything but if you let it get to you, you’ll have a short career.” For the last few years, Brown has been ­planning for the end of his career, developing a strong media presence as well as owning two health cafes and a property portfolio.

But nothing beats the buzz of playing.

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“I expected to retire at 30, so the last few years have been a ­bonus,” he said.

“I play for fun now, not for ­financial reasons, and it’s an ­absolute joy to be able to do that.

“If you’re enjoying what you’re doing, you’re going to play your best.”

Brown was just 18 when he made his Wigan debut against St Helens and looked so young that commentator Mick Stephenson said he must be fresh out of play school. Brown, who has also played for Huddersfield, Widnes and Warrington, said: “I don’t know if that was a compliment or not but I wish I still looked young.”

Brown was the starting stand-off in England’s 2017 6-0 World Cup defeat by the Kangaroos in Australia.

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He said: “We could not have played any better, so even though we lost, I can live with that.

“My son came on the field after the game and so I have very fond memories of it.

“The defeat I couldn’t take was with Warrington in the 2018 Challenge Cup Final, when we got turned over by massive underdogs Catalans.

“That left an emptiness in my stomach for a long time.

“Other than that I’ve been pretty happy with my career.

“This is my 18th year in Super League and clocking up more than 400 games is a dream come true.”

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