Six Nations 2015: England's Mike Brown on concussion

England's Mike Brown
Mike Brown was concussed in England's victory over Italy last month
Six Nations 2015: England v Scotland
Venue: Twickenham Date: 14 March, 2015 Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, HD, Red Button, BBC Radio 5 live, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

England full-back Mike Brown says he had to be honest about his concussion symptoms as he agonised over playing against Ireland in the Six Nations.

Brown was knocked out against Italy and needed prolonged rest before training again, missing the game in Dublin.

The 29-year-old has urged players not to cut corners with head injuries.

"The individual needs to be honest to the medical team and the coaching staff, which is hard when you are so desperate to play like I was," he said.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live about England's 19-9 loss to the Irish, Brown said: "It was such a massive game for us, and it was one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life."

At one point England were hopeful Brown may be fit to face Ireland, but in the period leading up to the game he twice experienced concussion symptoms having started the return-to-play protocols.

The six stages of 'Graduated Return to Play', as per World Rugby guidance
1. Minimum rest period4. Non-contact training drills
2. Light aerobic exercise5. Full practice contact
3. Sport-specific exercise6. Return to play

"Concussion is such a serious issue, and it's great that everyone is talking about it now and raising awareness to it," he added.

"But you still come across hard, hard situations when you have got to be honest [about the symptoms], because you can't see the injury and you don't know how it's progressing.

"You are just sat waiting for the symptoms to die down, which can become very frustrating.

"But luckily the medical team and coaching staff have been brilliant, not putting pressure on me and taking it day by day."

While Brown says it's "great to be back" for the Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland on Saturday, he admits watching England's back three struggle against Ireland's kicking game was difficult.

"The aerial battle was talked about so much, and it's something I pride myself on and something I have worked on throughout my career," he said.

"I was desperate to be part of that, but unfortunately I wasn't and had to sit and watch it at home, which wasn't great.

"I think I was more nervous watching it than actually playing."

England's Mike Brown
Brown's aerial ability was missed in the Ireland game after being knocked out against Italy

Brown says he has no trepidation about returning to the field, despite the severity of the collision that led to his concussion.

"Once all the symptoms died down and I got back into training I've just thrown myself into it," he said.

"The player that I am - and the way I approach the physical side of the game - it's hard for me to be on eggshells. If I was, I think the coaches probably wouldn't have selected me.

"Everything has been fine [in training] - the contact work and the breakdown work we've done this week - and I've been throwing myself back into it."

Despite the loss against the Irish, England still have a chance of winning a first Six Nations title since 2011 and Brown senses Stuart Lancaster's squad is desperate to get the Dublin defeat out of their system.

"Every week we put massive pressure on ourselves, and it's no different this week," he said. "For us it's about bouncing back from a disappointing performance against Ireland.

"From what I've seen around camp, this is a highly-motivated group of players desperate to right some wrongs and put in a performance we are proud of."

If you are involved in rugby find out more about concussion via the RFU's new online education course at www.englandrugby.com/headcase

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