Souths to play it safe on Turner: NRL

The NRL closely monitored Kyle Turner’s condition before his return to first grade last week and are confident South Sydney will continue to take a “conservative approach” to their back-rower’s recovery.

Turner’s immediate playing future remains uncertain after he suffered his seventh concussion in two years in his comeback NRL match against Penrith on Sunday following early season neck surgery.

The 23-year-old will sit out the Rabbitohs round-22 match against Manly at Brookvale Oval on Friday night, with the NRL revealing Turner’s cognitive state was tested by one of the world’s leading concussion experts prior to his return to the NRL.

“We’ve done some significant work with Souths and Kyle in recent months,” NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said.

“We wanted an independent assessment of his cognitive state following numerous head knocks over the last 18 months.

“In conjunction with our Chief Medical Officer (Dr Paul Bloomfield), we selected Associate Professor Paul McCrory, one of the world’s leading experts in the field of sports concussion, to oversee the process.

“As a result, we organised and funded Kyle flying down to Melbourne in June to be fully assessed. Souths were supportive of the process that was undertaken.”

Last season, Wests Tigers utility Liam Fulton was forced to retire from rugby league at age 29 because of repeated concussions.

But Turner said he was keen to play again as soon as possible, with his teammates rallying around him again, after a neck injury suffered in the All Stars fixture threatened his career earlier this year.

After introducing stringent concussion laws over the past two seasons, the NRL said Turner’s welfare is of paramount importance for the game’s governing body and the Rabbitohs.

“We’re well aware of Kyle’s history of head knocks, but we have full confidence in our clubs to manage their players, and Dr Bloomfield has been in regular contact with Souths’ club doctor,” Greenberg said.

“We know that Souths will take a conservative approach with Kyle’s recovery and ensure that his welfare will be carefully considered at all times.

“We monitor each player who has suffered a concussion and their progress through the relevant cognitive testing, which is required as part of their recovery.”

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