Ex-All Black loosie Broadhurst retires citing concussion

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — One-test All Black James Broadhurst has become the latest prominent New Zealand rugby player to retire prematurely because of problems with concussion.

Broadhurst, a backrower who played his only test against South Africa in 2015, on Friday announced his retirement from all rugby at the age of 29.

He has not played since August 2015 — shortly after winning his first test cap — when he suffered concussion while playing for Taranaki in the national championship.

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In a statement, Broadhurst said, "I've been away from the game for a little over 18 months and still experience symptoms which affect my daily life."

He said, with the help of medical staff "my health has improved massively and this will undoubtedly give me quality of life in the future."

Concussion has become a major issue for New Zealand rugby with All Blacks captain Kieran Read and his predecessor Richie McCaw both suffering its symptoms.

All Blacks center Charlie Ngatai is due to return to Super Rugby this weekend after more than a year on the sideline due to concussion.

Fullback Leon MacDonald, scrumhalf Steve Devine, and prop Ben Afeaki are among recent All Blacks forced to retire early because of concussion.

A 2016 study co-funded by New Zealand Rugby showed 85 percent of elite rugby players suffered at least one concussion during their careers.

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