Brendan Rea, 21, of McLeans Ridges is hoping to return to playing rugby union in two weeks after suffering a head injury two months ago.
Brendan Rea, 21, of McLeans Ridges is hoping to return to playing rugby union in two weeks after suffering a head injury two months ago. David Nielsen

News getting better for Pioneers second-rower

WOLLONGBAR'S Brendan Rea woke up on the rugby field with someone asking him to follow his finger with his eyes.

Rea eventually stood and attempted to return to the game but something was terribly wrong.

As he made his way to the sideline his legs stopped working and the big second-rower fell over.

These are Rea's vague recollections after he suffered a subdural haematoma caused by receiving a knock to his head in a trial match against Coffs Harbour on March 29.

A subdural haematoma is essentially a blood clot in a part of the brain which can cause swelling and possibly even long-term brain damage or death if left untreated.

Today the big 21-year-old will be sitting on the sideline when his team Wollongbar take on Ballina in Coopers Far North Coast rugby union at Lyle Park, Wollongbar.

In a few weeks Rea wants to return to the game, which looked a forlorn hope after he received the knock.

"I was taken to Lismore Base and had some scans and was still in a neck brace when they came out and told me they had good news and bad news," Rea recalled.

"They said the good news was that I didn't have a broken neck but the bad news was I had to go to Brisbane to see a neurosurgeon."

After being diagnosed with a subdural haematoma, Rea couldn't eat for 10 days because bad concussion causes nausea and he was also sound and light sensitive.

"I pretty much sat at home doing nothing," he said. "I lost 13kg but I'm starting to feel okay.

"At the start they didn't think I would play again. Then it was not this year, and after my last follow-up two Fridays ago they said I should be all right to go.

"I started driving again last week so I can get around again; it's taken two months to get over it."

Rea will seek a second opinion before returning to the field but he hopes to play in the second round starting on June 14.

The 2.03m second-rower was looming as one of the Pioneers' key men in the forwards this season.

Before the injury he tipped the scales at 108kg; he's now 95kg.

After playing rugby on the Gold Coast with Surfers Paradise for the past couple of seasons, Rea decided to return to Wollongbar and he dragged along two former Pioneers juniors with him, Brad Marsh and Aaron Burnett.

Marsh and Burnett have been leading lights as Wollongbar sits in second position on the ladder leading into the game today.

And therein lies the reason Rea is so keen to get back.

"I'd hate to make a grand final and have to sit and watch," he said.

Meanwhile, Lismore City have regained halfback Scott Lancaster for their clash with Casino.

Lancaster missed the victory over Yamba last Saturday because he was representing Navy in Canberra, where he won a spot in the Australian Combined Services XV.

It caps a good year for Lancaster after he was selected in the NSW Country squad in March.

In other games today, Grafton host Southern Cross University, while Tweed-Coolangatta take on Yamba at Coolangatta.


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