ACT Brumbies winger Henry Speight has been cleared for take-off in the pursuit of a spot at the Rio Olympic Games, but he’ll have to do it wearing specially made headgear to protect the titanium mesh in his skull, the Canberra Times reports.
Speight’s dream of playing Sevens for Australia at the Rio Olympics was dealt a tremendous blow in March when he clashed heads with Brumbies team mate Christian Lealiifano. He cracked his skull just above his eyebrow and was ruled out until it was healed.
In order to patch up the crack and help it grow back together, doctors decided to screw a thin titanium mesh onto the bone, as a plate would look quite odd on his forehead, not to mention be very painful. A plate so close under the skin, where the skin moves constantly, can cause serious discomfort. The thin mesh is far less visible or painful.
— Henry Speight (@henryspeight88) May 19, 2016
Henry Speight has been cleared to play again, but only on the condition that he wears protective headgear.
He jokes about it himself, saying “I have to wear headgear for the next four to six months … the closest thing to headgear I’ve ever worn was when I had an afro.”
He will be looking into something suitable and asking team mates David Pocock and Scott Fardy, the Wallaby backrowers, for advice.
During the next two weeks, Speight will slowly get back into contact, getting used to the new situation and giving his head a bit more time to heal. After that, he will be focusing on the Australian Olympic trials.
According to coach Andy Friend, he is still in with a shout for the team.
He will play sevens during June and July, after having been with the Aussie team during the Dubai and Sydney Sevens. If he is unsuccesful in his bid for an Olympic berth, he will rejoin the Brumbies for the last furlongs of their Super Rugby season.
Henry Speight will have a tough journey ahead, and the goal of reaching Rio certainly seems quite ambitious at this point. But the effort alone should be applauded.
Paul Peerdeman, Pundit Arena
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