‘Don’t put short-term needs over long-term health’: After his tenth concussion, is it time for Teddy to hang up the boots?


The Roosters have found themselves in the news in recent times and not always for the right reasons. Firstly, we had their enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves passing the 300-game mark, then winger Dominic Young becoming the first player to be sent off this year after his high shot on Canterbury’s Blake Taaffe, followed by their cringeworthy decision to celebrate Michael Jennings’ 300-game milestone against the Knights.

For me though, the biggest recent story involving the Roosters is another milestone, albeit an unwanted one, and that’s club captain and favourite son James Tedesco notching his tenth career concussion in the loss to the Bulldogs, while noting that seven of the ten have occurred in the last three years.

Tedesco leaves the field after a big collision with Viliame Kikau.

???? Watch #NRLBulldogsRoosters on ch.502 or stream on Kayo: https://t.co/B1ijnGXtqA
BLOG https://t.co/s6m7BMnx9H
???? MATCH CENTRE https://t.co/m3upHdJ0Do pic.twitter.com/gbWVUaGC0Q

— Fox League (@FOXNRL) April 5, 2024

Now I don’t know whether you’ve ever been knocked out cold or been severely concussed in a football game, but it’s no fun at all. If you’re lucky, you can bounce right back from a collision after a whiff of the ammonia salts, take your place in the line and even play on until the full-time whistle. Otherwise, it’s game over as the fog just won’t clear at all, your limbs won’t respond the way you want them to and the nausea hits hard.

Cop a big enough knock and you might not fully come around until well after the game, a game which you can barely remember. Then, regardless of the magnitude of the concussion(s), you can expect to feel disorientated, confused, and anxious for some time after the game, and experience headaches for weeks and months afterwards.

The Roar League Podcast is on YouTube! Click here and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode

Tedesco is one of the greats of the game and has nothing more to prove to anyone. He’s had a wonderful career and changed the role of the fullback along the way. He’s captained his club, his state, and country with distinction, won two premierships with the Roosters, a World Cup with Australia, a Harry Sunderland Medal, a Dally M Medal in 2019, and a host of other individual awards. He even represented his Italian heritage at two World Cups for Italy in 2013 and 2017.

(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

He’s been one of the highest paid players in the game since joining the Roosters in 2018 and has probably earned more money from the game than he’ll ever need.

With his current high profile, he’s ideally placed to transition to a successful media career if that’s what he wants when he retires from the game, and it could be argued that the game needs him more than he now needs the game, so he needs to firmly prioritise his long-term health over anything else.

We now know the effects of head knocks are largely cumulative, and that concussion and other head trauma can lead to CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) and all that comes with it, so, with such a poor recent concussion history the big question for James Tedesco is how many more head knocks can he endure without causing irreparable damage?

Will it be one more concussion, two, or more? Maybe ten’s more than enough?

Boyd Cordner. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

With just three wins from six starts the Roosters are under the pump, and they need a fit and healthy James Tedesco on the field if they’re going to make a noise this year, and now with both Joey Manu and Joseph Sua’ali’i leaving the club next year, Tedesco’s continued involvement will be more important than ever, but they also have a duty of care to their players. The Roosters have previously made the right call in the concussion space in respect of both Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend, so let’s hope they also get it right in Tedesco’s case and aren’t tempted to put their short-term needs ahead of Tedesco’s long-term health.

I, for one, don’t want to see him being taken from the field after being knocked out again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.