Sutton & Epsom skipper Whitaker endures the longest wait in sport

Happier times: Matt Whitaker, second from right, celebrates a try against Chobham – it would be his last match for a long time

Happier times: Matt Whitaker, second from right, celebrates a try against Chobham – it would be his last match for a long time

First published in Sport Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Sutton & Epsom skipper Matt Whitaker is enduring every sportsperson’s worst nightmare – long-term injury.

Worse still, rather than a finite wait for a broken bone or impact injury to heal, Whitaker’s problem is hidden within the mysteries of the brain.

The 26-year-old was knocked unconscious briefly during Sutton’s win over Chobham at the end of October, and subsequently suffered concussion.

Medical protocol stipulates that a player can only return to training when the symptoms have stopped – however, for Whitaker that point has not yet arrived.

“Whenever I did any form of training or exercise I get a dull, throbbing headache and the rules say that I have to stop,” he said.

“I get that headache everyday now, and so cannot do any form of training at all, it is so frustrating.

“I have been to my GP, and last week I saw a neurologist and had a scan – the results should be out in a week or so.”

He added: “I’m a little worried, although the absence of other symptoms is a relief. I’m more frustrated at not being able to do anything, I think I’m piling on the pounds.”

Whitaker’s injury coincided with a similar injury to Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, which hit the headlines when the Frenchman played on.

That decision caused consternation among medical expects, and Whitaker is the beneficiary of a renewed interest in head injuries.

“It was big news at the time, and there has been some more investigation into head injuries,” he said.

“The protocol with head injuries is that you can come back doing light training, and if there are no symptoms, you move to heavy training, and then playing again – but I cannot get past that first stage.

“But you cannot take a risk with concussion injuries, and although I am desperate to get out there again, the club is doing the right thing by me.”

Sutton, who host Havant on Saturday, dropped to ninth in London Division One last weekend after a 22-10 defeat at neighbours Wimbledon, where tries from Shawn Renwick and James Caddy were not enough.

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