Newcastle Knights star Kalyn Ponga heads to Canada to salvage his NRL career after series of concussions
Kalyn Ponga takes drastic step to fly to Canada for specialist treatment as he fights to save his footy career after a series of disturbing concussions
- Star has had four concussions in 10 months
- Knights does not want to say when he will play again
- Flew to Canada on Friday
Newcastle will not give Kalyn Ponga a timeline to play again until he returns from a trip to Canada where he will seek specialist treatment for the latest in a series of concussions.
The immediate playing future of the Knights co-captain has been in serious doubt since he knocked himself out in an attempted tackle early in the second round win over Wests Tigers.
The concussion was Ponga’s fourth in 10 months and provided a final push for the NRL to change head injury protocols requiring any player who receives a head blow to be sacked for 11 days.
Ponga missed the final six weeks of last season recovering from a concussion, and this time the Knights were reluctant to put a timeline on his comeback as head injury management remains a hot button topic in the NRL.
Ponga is battered to the turf after being knocked out on his first tackle against the Tigers in the second round. It was his fourth concussion in just 10 months
The Knights refuse to say when the Five-Eighth will be able to play again until they see the results of his trip to Canada for specialist treatment
While Ponga continues to recover, the Knights have consulted with Professor Chris Levi of Newcastle University and the Hunter Medical Research Institute.
On Friday, the club shared the most important update on its condition since the second round.
After discussions with Professor Levi, the Knights decided that Ponga would fly to Canada on Friday with the club’s medical director, Dr. Jin Lee, to seek specialist treatment.
In Vancouver, Ponga will be tested with a device that measures brain activity that is not yet available in Australia.
Only after the Knights receive the results of these tests will the club consider when Ponga could make his return to the NRL.
The trip to Canada gives Ponga access to a device that measures brain activity – and it’s not available in Australia
The flight to North America for Ponga (pictured being helped from the ground against Wests) comes after Souths and Manly sent their stars Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic to a leading specialist in the US to treat recurring, serious injuries.
“Managing a concussion is a complex matter for everyone involved, we see this as an opportunity to gather additional information to help Kalyn with his recovery,” said Peter Parr, Knights’ head of football.
“Our broader goal, under the leadership of Professor Levi, is to develop a model of care that will enhance our ability to support players with concussions.
“Kalyn remains in good spirits and would like to thank everyone who asked about his health.”
Ponga’s trip to Canada follows similar salvage missions to the US by rival fullbacks Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell and Ryan Papenhuyzen over the past 12 months.
All three consulted with Philadelphia-based specialist Bill Knowles in an effort to shake off long-standing leg problems.