Luke Marshall facing extended spell on sidelines after fifth concussion in two years 4 years ago

Luke Marshall facing extended spell on sidelines after fifth concussion in two years

There must be genuine fears now, at provincial and international level, for Marshall's playing future

Ulster rugby have confirmed Luke Marshall is following return to play protocols after he received a training ground concussion.

The 23-year-old looks a serious doubt for his province's upcoming Champions Cup matches against Toulon and Leicester Tigers and may even miss the Six Nations defence with Ireland.

Marshall's latest concussion is his fifth in less than two years. He was twice concussed with Ireland, in 2013, and sat out their summer tour after taking another concussive blow in their Heineken Cup quarter final defeat to Saracens, that season. He suffered a fourth concussion two months into the 2013/14 season when he was accidentally struck by a knee.

A statement from Ulster reads, 'Luke Marshall suffered concussion in a training session last week. He is currently following the return to play protocols.'

When contacted by SportsJOE for further comment, an Ulster spokesperson said it was likely that Marshall would undergo further medical assessment to determine a further course of action.

Racing Métro's Johnny Sexton was stood down from rugby action for three months, in December, following three concussions in a calendar year. That practice exists in the Top 14 but is not yet standard in the Guinness PRO12.

Ulster will be without a number of stars for their Champions Cup dates, including Nick Williams, Dan Tuohy, Wiehahn Herbst, Andrew Trimble and Stuart McCloskey.