Matterson calls for concussion honesty
Ryan Matterson could have hidden the sleeping, dizzy spells and sensitivity to light from his then coach Trent Robinson. But the Wests Tigers forward knew he had to speak up about concussion. SUBSCRIBE NOW.
Sidelined for almost two months last year because of ongoing head trauma, Matterson revealed he could have returned to the field while suffering symptoms but, instead, chose to be completely honest with Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson and club medical staff.
And given the recent discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, in a pair of deceased rugby league players, the 24-year-old is urging other players to now do the same.
"As a player, you've got to be honest," Matterson told The Daily Telegraph. "And not only with your coaches and team medical staff, but with yourself.
"This whole issue is based on trust because nobody at the club knows how you really feel - only you do. There isn't really a scan anyone can make you take to say if you're lying."
Housebound for roughly eight weeks last year, Matterson not only suffered ongoing dizzy spells and sensitivity to light, but slept for up to 16 hours a day.
More than once, the back-rower tried returning to the training paddock.
However, and despite the ongoing stigma attached to concussion, he repeatedly told Roosters staffers he wasn't OK to continue.
"I was really honest," he says. "There were a few times, coming into games, where Robbo (coach Robinson) would ask me 'mate, how are you feeling … are you right?'.
"But when I was training, I'd start feeling symptoms again. So I had to say no, I'm not OK.
"And that's important because if you're getting head knocks, you'll keep getting them
"I've been in that place. Been where you get two or three of them, week in, week out … you've got to have a break.
"And after having that time out, I haven't had a problem since. I don't need any ongoing testing or anything."
Apart from returning to take his place in the Roosters' NRL premiership side, Matterson has this year emerged as a genuine contender for 'Buy of the Year' with Wests Tigers while also twice earning an 18th man jersey with NSW.
And now tonight the back-rower takes on his old club in a Friday Night Football showdown at Bankwest Stadium.
Asked about switching from the reigning premiers to a side that finished last year ninth, he says: "There aren't too many players leave the Roosters of their own accord, I know that.
"Either you get shafted, get moved on, whatever. But you don't choose to leave.
"But I knew that if I stayed at the club, I wasn't going to grow.
"The Roosters have got so many quality players and, because you have to play to your strike power, I was missing out a little bit.
"With the Roosters game plan, the left edge is the strike power while the right edge does most of the tackling.
"And I was on the right edge.
"Sort've there to make others look good.
"So moving to the Tigers, it's been all about me growing as a player."