All Blacks flanker Luke Jacobson is clear of concussion symptoms, but wary of their return so early in his career.
The 22-year-old had a sudden rise into tests last season, but concussion ended his World Cup before it even started and he's hoping 2020 is less turbulent.
Three months after his World Cup was cruelly taken away, Super Rugby is within Jacobson's reach.
The Chiefs enforcer is primed for a return from concussion against the Sunwolves in round three, but he's aware that head knocks are a professional hazard that can't be completely avoided.
"I'm building up the contact," Jacobson said. "I probably could have been back earlier, but I might as well take the time, as I had it.
"I'm hoping to be done with the old head knocks, but I'm not counting on it.
"It's just like any sort of injury…. I hope I don't get another head knock but I have to be prepared for it if I do get one."
He's been lucky to have Chiefs teammates to talk with, like Sam McNicol, who lost an entire season to concussion.
"It can get scary," said McNicol. "But as soon as you're symptom-free, you just need to get a rugby ball back in hand."
While everyone's symptoms are different, there are useful techniques for all sufferers.
"There's certain brain exercises you can do on laptops... just to keep functioning well. One thing they've been harping on about recently is neck strength, so I'm doing a lot of neck prevention work."
Rest helps too and Jacobson's thankful for the three months he's had to clear his head - but he's ready for it to end.
"There's been a bit of anticipation," Jacobson admitted. "Now that you're training, out there with the boys and not actually playing, I'm itching at the bit.
He may not do it head-first, but Luke Jacobson's now set to restart a promising career.
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